January 11, 2018 12:19
The Donald Trump administration will "loosen constraints on the use of nuclear weapons and develop a new low-yield nuclear warhead" for missiles, the Guardian reported Tuesday.
The report follows Trump's boast of a "much bigger" nuclear button than North Korean leader Kim jong-un's.
Jon Wolfsthal, an arms control adviser to the Barack Obama White House, told the paper the changes will come in a "nuclear posture review" prepared by the Pentagon aimed at deterring Russia from using tactical warheads in a conflict in Eastern Europe.
The review, a backbone of the U.S. nuclear policy, is published every eight years.
The Trump administration's first NPR is expected to be printed out right after Trump delivers his State of the Union address in late January.
Wolfsthal has reviewed the NPR's first and final drafts. "Earlier drafts of the NPR was even more hawkish," he said. "The final draft drops proposals to develop a nuclear hyper-glide weapon, and to remove assurances to non-nuclear weapons states that the U.S. will not use its nuclear arsenal against them."
Wolfsthal said, "What I've been told by the people who wrote the thing was what they were trying to do was to send a clear deterrent message to Russians, the North Korean and the Chinese. And there is pretty good, moderate but strong language that makes clear that any attempt by Russia or North Korea to use nuclear weapons would result in a massive consequence for them."
Meanwhile, U.S. media have been exercised by comments by Ri Son-kwon, who led the North Korean delegation to cross-border talks on Tuesday and said the North's nuclear weapons and missiles are trained chiefly on the U.S.
The Washington Post called Ri's remarks "sobering words," which it said "underscored how, despite the rare agreement with the South, Pyongyang continues to assert its right to fend off the United States with nuclear arms."
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