U.S. nuclear weapons issues:
- In anticipation of the NonProliferation Treaty Review Conference that was to start January 4 the P-5 (original nuclear weapons powers U.S., Russia, China, France and U.K.) came out with an unbelievable collective statement on how they are in compliance with the NPT Article VI mandate to disarm. Then the Review Conference was indefinitely postponed because of omicron.
- Biden signed the FY 2022 Defense Authorization Act (DAA). Congress gave the Pentagon $24 billion more than Biden asked for. So much for ending endless wars. The DAA fully authorizes what the Biden Administration asked for National Nuclear Security Administration nuclear weapons programs, which increased Trump’s FY 2021 budget which saw a 25% from his FY 2002 budget. LANL is to get a cool billion in FY 2022 for expanded plutonium pit production alone.
- Still no appropriations. Second Continuing Resolution (CR) runs out in February.
- First anniversary of Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons January 22
U.S. urges Japan not to join nuclear ban treaty meeting: sources
The United States has urged Japan not to attend as an observer the first meeting of signatories to a U.N. treaty banning nuclear weapons, according to U.S. government sources, reflecting Washington’s opposition to the pact.
The Japanese government has suggested it will come into line with the United States and take a cautious approach to the issue, the sources said. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told a parliamentary committee on Thursday that Tokyo has no “concrete plans” to attend the meeting as an observer.
The sources said the U.S. administration of President Joe Biden made the request to Japan through diplomatic channels after German political parties announced Nov. 24 that the deal for the new ruling coalition included taking part as an observer at the meeting scheduled for March in Vienna
More than 50 countries, including Austria, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Africa and Vietnam, have ratified the pact, according to the website of the U.N. Office for Disarmament Affairs.
But nuclear weapon states, including the United States, Russia and China, are not signatories. Japan has also refrained from signing the pact in consideration of its long-standing security alliance with the United States.
- At a virtual public meeting on LANL cleanup on Thursday a DOE Los Alamos NEPA officer said they had received funding for a new LANL Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement. This deserves discussion as to what we want to do.
Accelerating nuclear arms race:
Putin and Xi Show United Front Amid Rising Tensions With U.S.
President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and President Xi Jinping of China, meeting in a video summit, sought mutual support in their conflicts with the West but have not yet declared a formal alliance.
Putin and Xi Hold Virtual Summit Amid Rising U.S. Tensions
Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and Xi Jinping of China held a videoconference in a show of solidarity against threats of Western sanctions.
MOSCOW — President Biden may have his alliance of democracies, but as a video summit on Wednesday underscored, Russia and China still have each other.
President Xi Jinping of China, facing a diplomatic boycott of this winter’s Beijing Olympics from Mr. Biden and others, secured a public pledge from President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia that he would attend — the first national leader to R.S.V.P.
Mr. Putin, facing threats of crushing Western sanctions if Russian forces attack Ukraine, heard Mr. Xi propose that Russian and China cooperate to “more effectively safeguard the security interests of both parties.”
Cyber Security: Full-blown warfare in cyberspace in progress, says Russian diplomat
Full-scale military activities are unfolding in cyberspace, Special Russian Presidential Representative for International Cooperation in Cybersecurity and Director of the Foreign Ministry International Security Department Andrey Krutskikh said at the 9th All-Russian congress of political scientists held at MGIMO University on Thursday. “The war [in cyberspace] is underway and unfolding very intensively. No matter how hard we may try to say that all this is disguised and that it isn’t that war or this war, in actual fact, military activities in cyberspace are in full swing,” the diplomat said. A change in the alignment of forces on the international scene as a result of this warfare is a key issue today, Krutskikh said. (TASS)
The videoconference between Mr. Xi and Mr. Putin on Wednesday — the 37th time the two men had met since 2013, according to Mr. Xi — was both a show of solidarity between two autocrats battling Western pressure and a display of the kind of mutually beneficial, increasingly tight partnership their two countries are building. “We firmly support each other on issues concerning each other’s core interests and safeguarding the dignity of each country,” Mr. Xi told Mr. Putin, according to reports in the Chinese state news media.
Military Affairs: Sounding alarm on China, Japan and US vow to collaborate more on defence
The United States and Japan on Friday (Jan 7) voiced strong concern about China’s growing might and pledged to work together to push back against attempts to destabilise the region, including against emerging defence threats. The comments from the two allies, in a joint statement that followed a virtual “two-plus-two” meeting of their foreign and defence ministers, highlights how deepening alarm about China – and increasing tension over Taiwan – have put Japan’s security role in greater focus. In their meeting, the ministers expressed concerns that China’s efforts “to undermine the rules-based order” presented “political, economic, military and technological challenges to the region and the world,” the joint statement said. (The Straits Times)
Experts See North Korea Shunning Nuclear Talks as Economic Crisis Deepens
Experts see prospects dimming for nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang as North Korea struggles to continue its nuclear and missile programs while its economy founders. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un spoke at a five-day meeting of his Workers’ Party with no mention of engagement with the United States or South Korea. Neither the regime’s usual critical tone toward the “hostile policy” of the U.S. or any diplomatic overture was present in Kim’s speech made at the Party meetings reported by the regime’s state media, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). Kim said North Korea will continue building its military capabilities to respond to “growing instability of the military situation on the Korean Peninsula and international circumstances,” which KCNA reported on Saturday. In response to Kim’s speech, the U.S. State Department told VOA’s Korean Service on Tuesday that Washington will continue its efforts to engage Pyongyang. “The United States remains committed to achieving lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula through dialogue and diplomacy with the DPRK,” said a State Department spokesperson. (Christy Lee for Voice of America)