Korea’s Nuclear Arsenal Continues to Grow

Report: North Korea still expanding nuclear arsenal, could have 30-40 warheads by 2020

North Korea is reportedly expanding its nuclear arsenal, all while participating in nuclear disarmament discussions with the USA.

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute Director Dan Smith claims that Kim Jong Un may have around 30 to 40 nuclear warheads in his possession (as everything in North Korea belongs to the dictator).

While North Korea has not officially tested a nuclear weapon or ballistic missile since 2018, Smith believes the ‘Hermit Kingdom’ is continuing its nuclear weapon research.

“The definition of denuclearization is a big thing to be worked out,” he said.

According to Newsweek, experts believe that North Korea will likely maintain nuclear weapons, regardless of any treaty it may sign.

For Smith, it’s a matter of U.S. diplomacy -and possibly show of force- that will tip the balance more than South Korea ever could.

“The definitive key to unlocking the problems does not lie in South Korea’s hands. It lies much more in American hands,” he said.

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Building Up the South Korean Nuclear Horn (Daniel 8)

U.S. B-1 bomber, center, flies over Osan Air Base with U.S. jets in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016.

US Military Experts Propose Sharing Nuclear Arms with Japan, South Korea

July 31, 2019

A group of military experts is proposing that the United States share its nuclear weapons with Japan and South Korea to answer the nuclear threat from North Korea.

The experts’ comments appear in Joint Forces Quarterly, a publication of the National Defense University. It notes that the opinions expressed in the article are not the official policy or position of the U.S. government.

In talks with U.S. officials, North Korea agreed not to test nuclear arms and long-range missiles. Yet the country apparently launched short-range missiles on Wednesday.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has met three times with U.S. President Donald Trump. Their most recent meeting took place in June in Panmunjom, along the border between North and South Korea.

But the North has been slow to get involved in talks aimed at working out details of ending its nuclear weapons program. The U.S. government has offered to lift economic restrictions on the country once the program is suspended.

Experts: US should consider sharing

The four military experts expressed their opinions in an article called “Twenty-first Century Nuclear Deterrence.” The four serve in the U.S. army, navy and air force.

They wrote that: “The United States should strongly consider…sharing of nonstrategic nuclear capabilities during times of crisis with select Asia-Pacific partners, specifically Japan and the Republic of Korea.”

The Republic of Korea is the official name for South Korea. The term nonstrategic mainly describes weapons, like bombs, that can be dropped from warplanes.

The idea of the U.S. sharing nuclear arms with Japan and South Korea would involve deploying the weapons to the countries so they could be used in a nuclear war. The idea is similar to how the U.S. shares nuclear weapons with some members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

The U.S. has promised to protect Japan and South Korea against nuclear attack. It also operates major military bases in both countries.

A view of North Korea’s missile launch on Thursday, in this undated picture released by North Korea’s Central News Agency (KCNA) on July 26, 2019. KCNA/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.

The article on the proposal to deploy U.S. nuclear weapons in East Asia was released on July 25. That is the same day North Korea launched two short-range missiles. Early Wednesday, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff reported that the North launched several missiles from its eastern coast.

The military experts suggest that American nuclear sharing with Japan and South Korea could be based on the NATO model with a few differences.

Currently, the U.S. shares nuclear weapons with Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey. The NATO alliance now has a total of 29 member-states.

The article suggests that a possible nuclear weapons agreement in Japan and South Korea could be based on the agreement with NATO. Both the U.S. and the host country would need to agree to any possible use of the weapons. But some details may need to be changed for the East Asian allies.

Japan and South Korea dispute trade, history

The article suggests that nuclear sharing with Japan and South Korea would improve a “military partnership through joint-regional exercises” needed to deter North Korea. It also suggests that the move would provide a strong reason for North Korea to continue with negotiations to end its nuclear program.

A notice campaigning for a boycott of Japanese-made products is displayed at a store in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, July 12, 2019.

However, arms control expert Gary Samore said the timing may not be right for the proposed nuclear sharing because of the current trade dispute between Japan and South Korea.

Trade tensions between the two countries increased after Japan ordered restrictions on products exported to South Korean companies. The parts affected are needed in the manufacture of smart phones and high-technology devices.

The dispute has its roots in Koreans’ anger over the Japanese occupation of their country from 1910 to 1945, and its use of Korean forced labor during World War II.

South Korea’s Supreme Court approved the seizure of Japanese-owned property to pay South Koreans who were affected. To answer the export restrictions, many South Koreans are boycotting Japanese products. Those boycotts have become widespread in Seoul.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is traveling in Asia this week. Pompeo has said he would like to see Japan and South Korea “find a path forward” from the dispute.

Samore said, “There may come a time when the domestic politics in South Korea and Japan have changed especially when North Korea continues to maintain…nuclear weapons.”

He said, at that point, such an agreement would “make more sense.”

I’m Mario Ritter Jr.

Kim Dong-hyun reported this story for VOA News. Mario Ritter Jr. adapted it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

Welcoming the South Korean Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7:7)

Hwang Kyo-ahn, leader of the Liberty Korea Party, heads to the National Assembly with floor leader Na Kyung-won and Rep. Won Yoo-chul to attend an emergency meeting of a special diplomatic and security committee on North Korean nuclear weapons on July 30. (Yonhap News)

Redeploying nuclear weapons in S. Korea would ignite arms race across NE Asia

Rep. Won Yoo-chul, a member of the conservative Liberty Korea Party (LKP) and chairman of the party’s special committee on security, foreign affairs, and the North Korean nuclear program, announced “the redeployment of tactical nuclear weapons” as his party’s platform on Aug. 8. “We’re preparing for Korean-style nuclear capability as a real and viable alternative,” Won added

In an upcoming policy forum on Aug. 12, the party plans to formalize its official position. It’s very worrying that the party is seeking to use North Korea’s launches of new short-range missiles to justify its aim of redeploying tactical nuclear weapons and pursuing nuclear development.

LKP floor leader Na Kyung-won has urged the Blue House to “actively consider the use of a nuclear deterrent, such as NATO-style sharing of nukes.” Cho Kyoung-tae, a member of the party’s Supreme Council, wants South Korea to pursue its own nuclear program. The party argues that South Korea should respond to the North’s nuclear and missile threats by acquiring a meaningful nuclear deterrent rather than through making futile appeals for peace. But that type of thinking is an irresponsible and dangerous form of “security populism.”

The idea of using nuclear weapons to bolster deterrence might sound plausible, but it’s actually vacuous. The moment the South Korean government starts talking about redeploying tactical nuclear weapons or pursuing its own nuclear program, not only the Korean Peninsula but all of Northeast Asia will be dragged into a nuclear arms race. It would immediately eliminate the rationale for condemning the North’s nuclear and ballistic missile development and for cooperating with the international community to pressure Pyongyang into denuclearization. We must bear in mind that fighting nukes with nukes would only cripple the Korean Peninsula peace process and give North Korea ammunition to justify its own nuclear weapons program.

If South Korea goes nuclear, it would obviously trigger a confrontation with longtime nuclear powers China and Russia. In the past, when the US deployed some 1,000 surface-to-surface missiles in South Korea, the Soviet Union and China countered by concentrating nuclear weaponry in Vladivostok and the Shandong Peninsula, within range of the Korean Peninsula. Such a step by Seoul would also likely trigger Japan’s acquisition of a nuclear arsenal, providing a pretext for the Abe administration’s dreams of acquiring the capacity to wage war. And the US would pass on the enormous cost of tactical nukes to South Korea.

The LKP has proposed the redeployment of tactical nuclear weapons whenever a nuclear crisis arises with Pyongyang. In 2017, Hong Joon-pyo, chairman of the party, officially proposed bringing tactical nukes back to the peninsula and even organized a delegation to ask the US to do so. Irresponsible security populism, however, can never alleviate security threats like the North’s nuclear program. In December 1991, President Roh Tae-woo declared that there was not a single nuclear device on the Korean Peninsula; we must not let the peninsula again become the most dangerous place on earth, a “danger zone for nuclear war.” The LKP should immediately drop its extremely dangerous calls for nuclear armament.]

The South Korean Horn Joins the Mix (Daniel 7:7)

South Korea reportedly sending destroyer to join US-led naval force protecting tankers in Gulf

ROKS Munmu the Great (DDH-976) is a Chungmugong Yi Sun-sin-class destroyer in the South Korean navy. It could be on the way to the Gulf.

 

By bne IntelliNews July 29, 2019

South Korea plans to join a US-led naval force in the Middle East, Maekyung business newspaper reported on July 27.

The dispatched Korean naval unit will reportedly include a destroyer and will help guard oil tankers sailing through the Strait of Hormuz.

Against the backdrop of tensions over what Iran says is a US “economic attack” on its economy, several oil tankers have been attacked and the UK-flagged Stena Impero has been seized by Iranian commandos. Iran still denies it had any role in the attacks. Insurance costs for tankers transiting the Strait of Hormuz have increased massively.

Maekyung cited an unidentified senior government official as saying South Korea had decided to send the anti-piracy Cheonghae unit operating in waters off Somalia, possibly along with helicopters.
Seoul’s defence ministry was reported as saying the government was exploring measures to protect its ships in the area but no decision had been made.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last week Washington had asked South Korea, Japan, France, Germany, Australia and others to take part in providing naval escorts for tankers. But the European powers, who are happy to stick with the existing nuclear deal with Iran and are opposed to the heavy sanctions the US is using to try to force the negotiation of a tougher accord, are wary of getting sucked into hostilities between Tehran and Washington. They have been looking instead at a UK proposal for a European protection fleet.

Iran appears to have seized the Stena Impero in response to the July 4 UK Royal Marine operation off Gibraltar that resulted in the seizure of Iran’s Grace 1 tanker. Iran says the UK captured the vessel at the behest of Washington. The UK claims it was following an EU policy to stop vessels illegally delivering oil to blockaded Syria. However, the EU has remained silent on the matter.

On July 29, new UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said there was no scope for the countries to exchange seized tankers, on the basis that the UK ship capture was legal whereas the Iranian seizure of the Stena Impero was illegal.

He said Iran needed to “come out of the dark” if it is to follow international rules and release the British-flagged tanker .

“If the Iranians want to come of the dark and be accepted as a responsible member of the intentional community they need to adhere to rules-based system of the international community,” Raab told Sky News. “You cannot go about detaining unlawfully foreign vessels.”

Tehran is angered that while the UK is officially opposed to the US abandonment of the nuclear deal and imposition of sanctions, it, and the other big European powers, have done little to protect the Iranian economy from US sanctions.

The UK defence ministry said on July 29 that a second warship, the HMS Duncan, had arrived in the Gulf to support the passage of British-flagged ships through the Strait of Hormuz, joining the HMS Montrose.

Russian Horn Helps Iran Nuclear Horn – For Now

File photo – An anti aircraft machine-gun is seen in front of the reactor building of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, February 26, 2018

Tehran Says Russia Collaborates With Iran On Development of Nuclear Plant

July 22, 2019

Radio Farda

Chairman of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi says the construction of the second phase of Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant will start next month in collaboration with Russia.

Salam Amini, a member of the Iranian Parliament’s Energy Committee quoted Salehi as having said on Sunday July 21 that “concrete foundations for this part of the nuclear power plant will be laid next month.” The nuclear chief made the remarks during a visit to The Iranian parliament, Majles.

The main contractor for the building is a Russian company which completed the nuclear power plant’s first phase after many years of delay in 2011.

Last month Iranian Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian signed a contract for the construction of the 2nd and 3rd phases of the power plant during a visit to Russia.

The United States has exempted some of Iran’s nuclear activities, including those at the Bushehr Power Plant from sanctions. However, following the reduction of Iran’s commitments to the 2015 nuclear deal with the West, many members of the U.S. Congress have called for sanctions against all of Iran’s nuclear activities

The Facts About the Russian Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7)

FACT: Russia’s New Stealth Submarine Carries 72 Deadly Nuclear Missiles

Each of the submarine’s sixteen R-30 Bulava (“Mace”) missiles typically carries six 150-kiloton nuclear warheads designed to split apart to hit separate targets. This means one Borei can rain seventy-two nuclear warheads ten times more destructive than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima on cities and military bases over 5,800 miles away.

On May 22, 2018, the Russian submarine Yuri Dolgoruky slipped beneath the waves of the Arctic White Sea. Hatches along the submerged boat’s spine opened, flooding the capacious tubes beneath. Moments later, an undersea volcano seemingly erupted from the depths. 

Amidst roiling smoke, four stubby-looking missiles measuring twelve-meters in length emerged one by one. Momentarily, they seemed on the verge of faltering backward into the sea before their solid-fuel rockets ignited, propelling them high into the stratosphere. The four missiles soared across Russia to land in a missile test range on the Kamchatka peninsula, roughly 3,500 miles away.

Like the nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) operated by United States, China, France, the United Kingdom, and India, the primary purpose of Borei-class submarines is almost unimaginably grim: to bring ruin to an adversary’s cities, even should other nuclear forces be wiped out in a first strike. 

Each of the submarine’s sixteen R-30 Bulava (“Mace”) missiles typically carries six 150-kiloton nuclear warheads designed to split apart to hit separate targets. This means one Borei can rain seventy-two nuclear warheads ten times more destructive than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima on cities and military bases over 5,800 miles away.

The Borei is the most advanced SSBN in the Russian Navy, and is designed to replace its seven Soviet-era Delta-class SSBNs. Throughout most of the Cold War, Soviets submarines were noisier than their Western counterparts, and thus vulnerable to detection and attack by Western attack submarines. 

This problem was finally appreciated by the 1980s, when the Soviets managed to import technologies from Japan and Norway to create the Akula-class attack submarine, which finally matched the U.S. Navy’s workhorse Los Angeles-class attack submarines in acoustic stealth.

Concept work on the Project 955 Borei began during the 1980s. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, in 1996 cash-strapped Russia decided to lower costs by taking three incomplete Akula hulls and convert them into a revised Borei design.

Construction proceeded at Severodvinsk, and lead ship Yury Dolgoruky (named after the Russian prince who founded the city of Moscow) launched in 2008 and was commissioned five years later in January 2013.

An SSBN’s primary purpose is to remain undetected long enough to unleash its terrifying firepower—a strategy made easier thanks to their nuclear reactors allowing them remain submerged for months at a time. Towards that end, the Borei is designed to higher standards of acoustic stealth than Soviet-era designs, and is more capable of evading enemies that do get an inkling of its position.

The Borei’s sleek 170-meter-long hull is considered more typical of Western-style submarine engineering, than the boxier Delta-class. Both the hull and the machinery inside the gargantuan 24,000-ton (submerged) submarine are coated in sound-dampening rubber.

The Borei’s OKF-650B 190-megawatt reactor powers a pump-jet propulsion system that allows it to remain unusually quiet while cruising near its maximum underwater speed of thirty knots. This probably makes the Borei quieter, and able to remain discrete at higher speeds, than the propeller-driven Ohio-class submarine. Russian media claims its acoustic signature is one-fifth that of the Typhoon and Delta-IV class SSBN and that the Borei was also uniquely suited to perform nuclear deterrence patrols in the southern hemisphere, though Russian SSBNs have historically remained close to friendly waters for protection.

For defense against enemy ships and submarines, the Borei also has eight 533-millimeter torpedo tubes and six countermeasure launchers atop its bow. Should things go terribly wrong for the relatively small crew of 107, the Russian SSBN has a pop-out escape pod on its back.

Troubled Missiles

The Borei was originally intended to carry twelve larger and more advanced R-39 “Bark” submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM). But the R-39 was canceled in 1998 after failing in three test launches. 

Thus, the Borei had to be redesigned to carry sixteen smaller Bulava missiles derived from the land-based Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missile. The Bulava also proved very troubled, however, failing in ten out of twenty-seven test launches due to manufacturing defects. Two failures occurred after the Bulava was operationally deployed on the Borei in 2013.

The Bulava has an unusually shallow flight trajectory, making it harder to intercept, and can be fired while the Borei is moving. The 40-ton missiles can deploy up to forty decoys to try to divert defensive missiles fire by anti-ballistic missiles systems like the Alaska-based Ground-based Midcourse Defense system.

However, publicized specifications imply the R-30 may be nearly four times less accurate than the Trident D5 SLBMs on U.S. and British submarines, with only half of shots landing within 350 meters of a target. This implies the R-30 is a purely strategic weapon lacking the precision to reliably take out hardened military targets like nuclear silos in a first-strike scenario.

The New Generation Borei-A

Of the three active Boreis, the Yuri Dologoruky is based at Ghadzhievo (near Murmansk) assigned to the Northern Fleet, while the Alexander Nevsky and the Vladimir Monomakh are part of the Pacific Fleet, based at Vilyuchinsk on the Kamchatka Peninsula.

Between 2012 and 2016, the Severomash shipyard laid down five new generation Project 955A Borei-II/Borei-A submarines. Lead boat Knyaz Vladimir (Prince Vladimir) launched in 2017 and is due to be commissioned in 2019.

While retaining the same basic tear-drop profile, Knyaz Vladimir appears to be six meters longer based on satellite photos. The 955’s distinctive forward-slanted sail (conning tower) has been replaced with a more conventional tapered design in the 955A. As you can see in this diagram, 955A’s tail has a larger pump jet, an all-moving rudder and new end plates to its horizontal fins for improved maneuverability. A new long blister on the lower hull may house an improved flank-array sonar, or serve as a stowage hangar. You can see detailed imagery, deck plans and analysis of the Borei-A at the website Covert Shores.

Other upgrades include modernized combat, sensor and communications systems, improved acoustic stealth and crew habitability. One Russian source claims the new model is optimized “to decrease launch time to the minimum.”

All five Boreis-A are due to be commissioned by 2021, though Russian shipbuilding frequently falls behind schedule. Nonetheless, given the Russian Navy has had to cancel, downsize or downgrade numerous projects in the last few years, the money invested in completing the subs testifies to the importance Moscow places on submarine nuclear deterrence. The boats cost slightly less than half the cost of their American Ohio-class counterparts at $890 million, but Moscow’s defense budget is only one-twelfth that of the United States.

The eight Boreis would maintain, but not expand, on a standing force of eight Russian SSBNs evenly split between the Pacific and Northern fleets—enough for multiple submarines to perform deterrence patrols at the same time.

Russian media has variously indicated two or six more Boreis could be built in the mid to late 2020s, for a total of ten to fourteen Boreis of both types. Two of these could potentially be a cruise-missile-carrying Borei-K variant that would parallel the U.S. Navy’s Ohio-class SSGN cruise missile submarines.

However, the Borei represents only half of the Russian Navy’s future sea-based nuclear deterrence force. The other half will come from a unique fleet of four Khaborovsk-class submarines each carrying six nuclear-powered Poseidon drone-torpedoes designed to swim across oceanic distances to blast coastal cities and naval bases with megaton-yield warheads. Moscow, it seems, would like a little more redundancy in its ability to end civilization as we know it in the event of a nuclear conflict.

Sébastien Roblin holds a master’s degree in conflict resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing, and refugee resettlement in France and the United States. He currently writes on security and military history for War Is Boring.

Image: Reuters.

US and Russia Preparing for WW3

Yesterday, it was claimed Vladimir Putin has a secret plan to launch a war on Europe while the rest of the world is distracted. Heinrich Brauss, a retired German lieutenant general, said while NATO’s attention is focussed on issues world leaders have deemed more pressing, the Kremlin is plotting a regional war with member states right under their noses, with the aid of nuclear weapons. President Putin may turn his attention to his six new Russian strategic weapons unveiled in March 2018.

However, there is one that will have the US more hot under the collar than the rest.

The 9M730 Burevestnik is a nuclear-powered, nuclear-armed cruise missile, which officials have claimed has unlimited range and the potential to outmanoeuvre any defence.

Given the missile has an on-board nuclear reactor, the missile is the first of its kind for any nation – largely given the engineering challenges and safety concerns involved

According to US military intelligence, only one of 13 known tests of the missile has been moderately successful.

The missile has successfully been tested

The missile has successfully been tested (Image: YOUTUBE)

During its flight, the nuclear-powered engine reached its design capacity and provided the necessary propulsion

Vladimir Putin

However, the latest test, in January 2019, is believed to have gone smoothly, The Diplomat reports.

Despite this, in his original speech unveiling a suite of new weapons before the Russian Federal Assembly in March 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed it had already passed a trial two years earlier.

He said: “In late 2017, Russia successfully launched its latest nuclear-powered missile at the Central training ground.

“During its flight, the nuclear-powered engine reached its design capacity and provided the necessary propulsion.”

He additionally claimed that the missile’s range was “unlimited” and that it could “manoeuvre for as long as necessary”.

According to Pavel Podvig, director of the Russian Nuclear Forces Project, this will be a “truly revolutionary weapon”.

While original plans were for the missile to be unveiled in 2020, Putin may look to unleash it earlier.

The Burevestnik was announced alongside a range of new nuclear weapons, including the Avangard, a hypersonic boost-glide reentry vehicle, the Poseidon, an autonomous thermonuclear torpedo, the Sarmat, a new intercontinental-range ballistic missile, and the Kinzhal, an air-launched ballistic missile.

The latest test precedes the US notice of withdrawal from The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) on October 2018, after Russian violations of the agreement.

In response, US President Donald Trump announced the release of the 2019 US Missile Defence Review, calling for the development of new technology to augment existing capabilities again cruise and ballistic missile threats.

Putin said the missile has already been successfully launched

Putin said the missile has already been successfully launched (Image: YOUTUBE)

Tensions are high between the US and Russia

Tensions are high between the US and Russia (Image: GETTY)

Military experts are alarmed by the fact Russia continues to arm itself with super and hypersonic missiles.

The US has also been urged to disarm along with Russia, as tensions between the two nations threaten to replicate the heights seen during the Cold War.

External Representative Federica Mogherini said on behalf of the EU she was deeply concerned and warned of a new arms race.

It comes as the three global superpowers – Russia, the US and China are all battling for domination in unclaimed territory.

Beijing has claimed waters in the South China Sea, Moscow has claimed ice in the Arcticregions and the US is battling for space.

Modernization for the Upcoming Nuclear War (Revelation 16)

Nuclear Proliferation: Global Stockpiles Modernize, New US DOD Doctrine Suggests Dangerous Pivot

Peacekeeper missile system being tested at the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. This is a long exposure photo showing the paths of the multiple re-entry vehicles deployed by the missile. One Peacekeeper can hold up to 10 nuclear warheads, each independently targeted. Were the warheads armed with a nuclear payload, each would carry with it the explosive power of twenty-five Hiroshima-sized weapons which is equivalent to around 400 kilotons of TNT. (Photo: David James Paquin)

The new document is very much conceived as a war-fighting doctrine – not simply a deterrence doctrine, and that’s unsettling.”

The total global quantity of nuclear warheads fell in a comparison of data from 2019 to 2018. However, while the stockpile is smaller, it is more advanced as countries continue to modernize and build more sophisticated stockpiles, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI) latest report. The SIPRI report comes just weeks after a startling new nuclear doctrine released by the U.S. Department of Defense appears to show the U.S. is more willing to launch nuclear strikes.

Nuclear Proliferation by the Numbers

At the start of 2019, nine countries – Russia, the U.K., the U.S, France, India, China, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea – jointly had 13,865 nuclear warheads, 600 less than were reported in early 2018. The number of global warheads has dropped drastically since the signing of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1980 when there were around 70,000 nuclear warheads worldwide.

Only the U.S. and Russia decreased their warhead inventory, by 265 and 350 respectively, according to the report. All other countries maintained or increased their inventories.

Despite the reduction, the report noted, “the pace of their reductions has slowed compared with a decade ago.” Additionally, neither Russia nor the U.S., which account for 90 percent of global nuclear weapons, has committed to making further negotiated reductions in their respective nuclear forces.

“At the same time, both Russia and the USA have extensive and expensive programs underway to replace and modernize their nuclear warheads, missile and aircraft delivery systems, and nuclear weapon production facilities,” the report added.

SIPRI research showed that Russia has the most warheads with 6,500, followed by the U.S. in second with 6,185. Both nuclear powerhouses have seen a decline in their number of warheads since the implementation of the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (also known as the New START) in 2010.

New START Set to Expire

Raising extreme concern, however, is the fact that there are no talks between related parties to extend the New START, which expires in 2021.

“There are currently no discussions about extending New START or negotiating a follow-on treaty,” Shannon Kile, director of SIPRI’s Nuclear Disarmament, Arms Control, and Nonproliferation Program, told Radio Free Europe.

“The prospects for a continuing negotiated reduction of Russian and U.S. nuclear forces appears increasingly unlikely given the political and military differences between the two countries,” he added.

Both Russia and the U.S. are modernizing their weaponry. The former is developing a weapon that can infiltrate America’s anti-missile shield. While Washington is trying to manufacture a short-range tactical nuclear arsenal to counter perceived Moscow threats. The U.S. alleges Russia “has developed and deployed a mobile ground-launched cruise missile with a flight range prohibited under the (INF) treaty,” according to the SIPRI report.

Pakistan, India and China Nuclear Proliferation

According to the SIPRI report released in June of last year, Pakistan currently houses 140-150 nuclear warheads while its neighbor India possesses 130-140.

Even though Pakistan has a more significant number of warheads, India is believed to have more modernized equipment and an advanced defense system which can launch retaliatory attacks.

India and Pakistan have been engaged in a long-term conflict over the region of Kashmir. Both countries are not signatories of the NPT and openly flaunt their nuclear arsenals.

A joint study from Rutgers University, the University of Colorado-Boulder and the University of California in 2007 calculated that if a war between India and Pakistan took place and involved 100 warheads, then 21 million lives would be lost.

China is extremely secretive about its nuclear arsenal but SIPRI reports estimate that currently it has 290 warheads up from 280 in January of 2018 and 270 the year before that. However, a 2017 National Institute for Public Policy Report said, “The Obama Administration estimated that China has several hundred nuclear weapons, but other estimates place the number much higher.”

A SIPRI report at the end of April this year revealed that Chinese and U.S. military spending in 2018 accounted for more than 60 percent of global military expenditures.

US Nuclear Doctrine Pivot

The Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Rhode Island (SSBN 740) returns to Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay after three months at sea, March 20, 2013. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class James Kimber/Released)

On June 11, the Pentagon shockingly released a secretive file describing its basic principles for planning, carrying out, and assessing nuclear operations – the first such doctrine in 14 years. The DoD later deleted the document, titled Nuclear Operations, but Steven Aftergood, an activist at the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), downloaded the paper before its removal and made it publicly available on the FAS website.

Arms control experts worry the document reflects a change in U.S. policy towards fighting and using nuclear weapons.

As Aftergood told the Guardian: “That kind of thinking itself can be hazardous. It can make that sort of eventuality more likely instead of deterring it.  The new document is very much conceived as a war-fighting doctrine – not simply a deterrence doctrine, and that’s unsettling.”

“Using nuclear weapons could create conditions for decisive results and the restoration of strategic stability,” the joint chiefs’ document says. “Specifically, the use of a nuclear weapon will fundamentally change the scope of a battle and create conditions that affect how commanders will prevail in conflict.”

According to the Guardian, the document quotes controversial cold war theorist Herman Kahn who argued that nuclear war was “winnable.”

Kahn’s quote, “My guess is that nuclear weapons will be used sometime in the next hundred years, but that their use is much more likely to be small and limited than widespread and unconstrained,” begins a chapter on nuclear planning and targeting.

Another expert claimed that the Pentagon’s sudden decision to delete the doctrine after posting it showed a lack of coherent strategy amid Washington’s withdrawal from two nuclear deals: the JCPOA signed with Iran in 2015 and the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) signed with Russia in 1987.

“Posting a document about nuclear operations and then promptly deleting it shows a lack of messaging discipline and a lack of strategy. Further, at a time of rising nuclear tensions, casually postulating about the potential upsides of a nuclear attack is obtuse in the extreme, “ Alexandra Bell, senior policy director at the Centre for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, told the Guardian.

The release of the DoD nuclear doctrine comes following the Department of Defense’s legislative-mandated 2018 Nuclear Posture Review which was widely condemned for calling for a “modern” nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missile, as LawFare reported.

In 2010, under the Obama administration, the Nuclear Posture Review announced the retirement of the previous nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missile.

Germany, Iran, and Russia slammed the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review for recommending the expansion of the Pentagon’s nuclear arsenal. One of the most shocking parts of the Review was the suggestion that F-35 fighter jets expand their capabilities to firing nuclear weapons.

The Asian Nuclear Horns Continue to Grow (Daniel)

India, Pakistan and China increasing nuclear arsenals size

Abdus Sattar Ghazali, The Milli Gazette Online

Published Online: Jun 23, 2019

At the start of 2019, the United States, Russia, Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea had a total of some 13,865 nuclear weapons, according to a new report by the Stockholm-based International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

That represents a decrease of 600 nuclear weapons compared to the start of 2018 but all nuclear weapon-possessing countries are modernizing (upgrading) these arms – and China, India and Pakistan are also increasing the size of their arsenals, the SIPRI report added.

North Korea has an estimated 20 to 30 nuclear warheads, which SIPRI said was a priority for the country’s national security strategy. However, it noted that North Korea has not tested a nuclear weapon or long-range ballistic missile since it entered into denuclearization talks with the United States in 2018.

France has 300 nuclear warheads, China 290, the UK 200 and Israel 80 to 90.

To date, the United States is the only country to have the ignominy of resorting to the use of nuclear weapons when it dropped two atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima (August 6, 1945) and Nagasaki (August 9, 1945) in the final days of World War II.

Within the first four months of the bombings, the radiation had already killed 90,000–166,000 people in Hiroshima and 60,000–80,000 in Nagasaki; nearly half of the deaths in each city occurred on the first day of the bombings.

Israeli nuclear arsenal

In total, the SIPRI report estimated that Israel possesses between 80 and 90 nuclear weapons, an increase over previous years.

The SIPRI report described Israel’s nuclear arsenal as follows: 30 gravity bombs capable of delivering nuclear weapons by fighter jets; an additional 50 warheads that can be delivered by land-based ballistic missiles; and an unknown number of nuclear-armed, sea-launched cruise missiles that would grant Israel a sea-based second-strike capability.

During a speech last August in front of the Dimona nuclear reactor in the Negev Desert, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened to use nuclear weapons to “wipe out” Israel’s enemies. More recently, Netanyahu and his allies in the U.S. accused Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons, despite the fact that intelligence agencies of both the U.S. and Israel have long recognized that Iran has no such program.

India and Pakistan

Nuclear rivals India and Pakistan, which have 130 to 140 and 150 to 160 nuclear warheads respectively, are increasing the size of their arsenals while also developing new systems.

“India and Pakistan are expanding their military fissile material production capabilities on a scale that may lead to significant increases in the size of their nuclear weapon inventories over the next decade,” said Shannon Kile, director of the SIPRI Nuclear Arms Control Program.

It may be recalled, the Congressional Research Service’s May 15 2009 report to US lawmaker said that Pakistan’s nuclear energy program dates back to the 1950s “but it was the loss of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in a bloody war with India that probably triggered a political decision in January 1972 (just one month later) to begin a secret nuclear weapons program.”

“The origins of the Pakistani nuclear program lies in the deep national humiliation of the 1971 war with India that led to the partition of the country, the independence of Bangladesh and the destruction of the dream of a single Muslim state for all of south Asia’s Muslim population.”

On the other hand, White House insider Bruce Riedel, who co-authored the Obama administration’s Af-Pak policy, offered the following sequence in a op-ed, broadly concurring with the CRS report:

“The new prime minister of those times, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, secretly convened the country’s top 50 scientists in January 1972 and challenged them to build a bomb. He famously said that Pakistanis would sacrifice everything and “eat grass” to get a nuclear deterrent. The 1974 Indian nuclear test helped Pakistan to tell the world that this is the cause of their nuclear bomb. Starting in 1972, Pakistan came up with its own nuclear bomb in 1998 with the slight help of China, just a few days after India’s second nuclear test.”

The CRS Report further added, “Mr. Bhutto received an unsolicited letter from a Pakistani scientist who had studied in Louvain, Belgium, Abdul Qadeer Khan, offering to help by illegally acquiring sensitive centrifuge technology from his new employers at a nuclear facility in the Netherlands. Over the next few years—with the assistance of the Pakistani intelligence service, the Inter Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI)—Mr. Khan would acquire the key technology to help Pakistan produce fissionable material to make a bomb.”

Both the CRS report and Riedel pointed out to the help which China gave to Pakistan in its nuclear weapons quest, a subject successive US administrations are leery of broaching for fear of angering Beijing. “Islamabad gained technology from many illegal sources,” says the CRS report, adding, “This extensive assistance is reported to have included, among other things, uranium enrichment technology from Europe (stolen by Khan, according to Riedel), blueprints for a small nuclear weapon from China, and missile technology from China and North Korea.”

India plans a covert military attack on a Pakistani nuclear reactor

In their book, Deception: Pakistan, the United States and the Global Nuclear Conspiracy, Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark claim that Indian military officials secretly travelled to Israel in February 1983 to buy electronic warfare equipment to neutralize Kahuta’s air defences. Israel reportedly also provided India with technical details of the F-16 aircraft in exchange for Indians providing them some details about the MiG-23 aircraft. In mid- to late-1983, according to strategic affairs expert Bharat Karnad, Indira Gandhi asked the IAF once again to plan for an air strike on Kahuta.

The mission was cancelled after Pakistani nuclear scientist Munir Ahmed Khan met Indian Atomic Energy Commission chief-designate Raja Ramanna at an international meet in Vienna and threatened a retaliatory strike on Bhabha Atomic Research Centre at Trombay, according to Sushant Singh of Indian Express who also wrote in October 2015:

The next time India is believed to have seriously considered attacking Kahuta was in September-October 1984. It has also been rumored that Israeli air force was part of the plans to attack Kahuta in 1984 because it did not want to see an “Islamic Bomb” developed by Pakistan. Israel was supposed to lead this attack and not merely play the role of advising the IAF. Bharat Karnad has written that Israeli aircraft were to be staged from Jamnagar airfield in Gujarat, refuel at a satellite airfield in North India and track the Himalayas to avoid early radar detection, but Indira Gandhi eventually vetoed the idea. Levy and Scott-Clark though claim that Indira Gandhi had signed off on the Israeli-led operation in March 1984 but backed off after the US state department warned India “the US will be responsive if India persists”.

Earlier inn January 2015, India Times reported:  “In 1981, India planned to bomb Pakistan’s nuclear plant at Kahuta, inspired by Israeli attack on under-construction Iraqi nuclear reactors, the India Times reported on January 25, 2017.”

According tothe India Times about 930,000 declassified documents posted online by the CIA provide interesting insights into India’s increasing concerns over Pakistan’s nuclear program in the early 80s. One such set of documents pointed out how India had planned to bomb Pakistan’s nuclear plant at Kahuta. This was a covert operation planned by India that was shelved after international pressure.

The India Times also said:

“Secret documents revealed that the US Ambassador to Pakistan handed over a letter by President Ronald Reagan to General Zia-ul Haq which warned Pakistan about a possible Indian military attack on the Pakistan’s nuclear reactor at Kahuta.

“An article in Washington Post in 1982 revealed Indira Gandhi was advised by the Indian military to target the Pakistani nuclear plant.

“Israel, according to reports, wanted to use Gujarat’s Jamnagar base to launch its jets and another base for refuelling. In March 1984, Indira okayed the operation, bringing India, Pakistan and Israel within striking distance of a nuclear conflict. But Gandhi backed off after the Regan administration warned of action, say reports.”

2019 report  about India-Israel joint plan to target Pakistani nuclear facilities

More recently, Daily Pakistan Global reported on March 4, 2019, Pakistan has disclosed a joint plan by India and Israel to target its nuclear facilities ostensibly on the pretext of anti-terror war in the wake of Pulwama attack.

The daily reported that as tension between Pakistan and India lingers on, official reports by the government of Pakistan confirm that India and Israel were ready for a joint attack against Pakistan, however, the threat of retaliation and active vigilance staved off the strike a few days ago.

Multiple journalists in Pakistan, while quoting official sources and meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan have revealed that the joint plan was thwarted due to the contact between the spy agencies of the South-Asian countries and threat of retaliation by the armed forces of Pakistan. “High-level sources have informed us that there was a plan to attack 7-8 places in Pakistan from a base in Rajasthan, India. Pakistan had learnt that Israel was helping India in this plan and this was a joint plan of these countries,” the Daily Pakistan Global quoted a veteran journalist as saying.

Interestingly Shimon Arad, a retired Israeli colonel, wrote on National Interest website in February 2018, ‘How Israel and Pakistan Can Avoid a Nuclear Showdown?’ He said:

“The advancement of Pakistan’s nuclear-missile capabilities and Israel’s growing military ties with India are increasing their respective military relevance for each other. In the absence of formal diplomatic relations and against the backdrop of a prevailing antagonistic public dialogue, the need for an effective and discreet channel of communication between Islamabad and Jerusalem to mitigate misunderstandings and misperceptions about each other’s intentions is growing.

Col. Arad  recalled that a website called “AWD News” claimed that Israel’s defense minister had threatened to destroy Pakistan with a nuclear attack if it sent ground troops to Syria on any pretext. Although clearly fake (the website misidentified the Israeli defense minister as Moshe Ya’alon, who resigned in the previous May), Pakistan’s defense minister hastily tweeted a nuclear threat and warned Israel that “Pakistan is a nuclear state too.”

Abdus Sattar Ghazali is the Chief Editor of the Journal of America (www.journalofamerica.net) email: asghazali2011 (@) gmail.com

The Reason For Nuclear Modernization

A Trident II D5 missile is test-launched from the Ohio-class US Navy ballistic missile submarine USS Nebraska. © Reuters / US Navy

US wants low-yield nukes to blackmail dissident countries, not to deter Russia – Moscow

Published time: 22 Jun, 2019 20:02

US generals are well aware that there’s no way of limiting the use of nuclear weapons in a war between superpowers, so the claim that some “low-yield” nukes are needed to match Russia is an outright lie, the Foreign Ministry said.

Moscow’s statement comes in response to the vice-chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Paul Selva, who vehemently promoted the modification of the warheads on Trident missiles, which are carried on Ohio-class submarines, in order for them to be able to carry low-yield nuclear weapons.

Selva argued that the US will be put in a difficult situation if Russia decides to hit an American city with a low-yield nuclear weapon. “The US doctrine says it will respond in kind, but without a low-yield nuclear weapon in its inventory, responding in kind means it will have to respond with a high-yield nuclear weapon,” supposedly provoking and all-out nuclear war.

But the Russian Foreign Ministry on Saturday blasted the general’s claims as “disingenuous” and pointed out that the use of low-yield nuclear weapons wasn’t even a part of Russia’s military doctrine.

An obvious deception is also the idea that it’s possible to ‘limit’ the use of nuclear weapons in a clash between two nuclear powers.

The yield of an incoming enemy warhead can only be determined after it detonates and the Americans are well aware of that, the ministry said in a statement.

“Therefore, any launch of a strategic nuclear carrier aimed at Russian territory… regardless of the capacity of its warhead, will be treated as an aggression with the use of nuclear weapons, and met with an appropriate response.”

US must show evidence if it wants to claim Russia breached nuke test treaty – Moscow

American attempts to turn nukes into “battlefield weapons” have nothing to do with Russia, Moscow insisted.

It seems Washington wouldn’t mind making low-yield warheads a means of blackmailing the countries, who oppose American dictates.

The US returning to its views “from 60 years ago,” when they believed that a “limited nuclear war” was acceptable and winnable, is a source of serious concerns, the Foreign Ministry said, adding that “this is apparently linked to the growing signs of Washington’s desire to refuse its obligations under the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).”

CTBT, which forbids nuclear explosions in all environments, was adopted at the UN General Assembly in 1996. However, the treaty has never gone into force, due to not being ratified by over a dozen countries, including the US.