U.N. nuclear watchdog team on Iran faces reshuffle
Fredrik Dahl, Reuters – April 19, 2013
Two senior U.N. nuclear watchdog officials who have been leading talks with Iran will leave this year, potentially robbing it of experience and expertise in dealing with Tehran over its disputed atomic programme.
Chuck Hagel to finalise £6.5billion arms deal on Israel visit
Robert Tait, The Telegraph – April 19, 2013
Chuck Hagel, the US defence secretary, will present Israel and pro-Western Arab states with a £6.5 billion arms bonanza to defend themselves from Iran on his first visit to the Middle East since sealing his appointment in a bruising nomination process.
Kerry Argues Against New Sanctions On Iran
Valley News – April 19, 2013
Secretary of State John F. Kerry implored Congress on Thursday not to impose tough new sanctions on Iran, warning that such a move could disrupt diplomacy over Tehran’s disputed nuclear program at a delicate moment.
Officials in Israel Stress Readiness for a Lone Strike on Iran
Isabel Kershner, the New York Times – April 18, 2013
With Chuck Hagel scheduled to begin his first visit to Israel as secretary of defense on Sunday, Israeli defense and military officials issued explicit warnings this week that Israel was prepared and had the capability to carry out a lone military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
South Korea’s top diplomat to visit China, Japan
The Hindu Business Line – April 19, 2013
The South Korean foreign minister will visit China and Japan starting next week to discuss a coordinated response to North Korea’s threats, officials said today. Yun Byung Se will go to Beijing before heading to Tokyo, foreign ministry officials said.
N Korea sets preconditions for talks
Associated Press, News24 – April 18, 2013
North Korea on Thursday demanded the lifting of UN sanctions and the end of US – South Korea military drills as conditions for resuming talks meant to defuse tension on the Korean Peninsula. The statement from the policy department of the National Defence Commission, the country’s top governing body, came four days after Pyongyang rejected Seoul’s latest dialogue offer as insincere.
Editorial: Toward a Nuclear Deal With South Korea
The New York Times – April 18, 2013
The United States and South Korea are negotiating a new nuclear cooperation agreement that will have consequences for the conflict with North Korea and President Obama’s broader nonproliferation agenda. As part of the deal, the South Korean government has requested American approval to enrich uranium and to reprocess nuclear fuel originally bought from the United States.
Opinion: Is China Changing Its Position on Nuclear Weapons?
James Acton, The New York Times – April 19, 2013
Interpreting any country’s pronouncements about its nuclear weapons can be a study in fine distinctions, but occasionally a state says — or fails to say — something in a clear break from the past. A Chinese white paper on defense, released on Tuesday, falls into this category and now demands our attention, because it omits a promise that China will never use nuclear weapons first.
U.S. to deploy Patriot missile batteries on Jordan-Syria border
Cheryl K. Chumley, The Washington Times – April 19, 2013
An unnamed Jordan source said the U.S. military agreed on Friday to the country’s request to put Patriot missile batteries along the border with Syria. A London newspaper quoting the Jordan source said the United States was sending two Patriot missile batteries to the area, The Times of Israel reported.
Pentagon, NATO allies witness missile defense test in skies over Central New York
Mark Weiner, Syracuse – April 19, 2013
Military leaders from the Pentagon, Italy and Germany were in Central New York this week to witness a classified test of a missile defense system. As part of the test, a small plane and a simulated tactical ballistic missile were detected and tracked by the Medium Extended Air Defense System, or MEADS, its developers said today.