US, South Korea skeptical of North Korea’s nuclear offer, Peter Ford, Christian Science Monitor, 21 December 2010

Pyongyang may now be ready to give up its aging plutonium program, which has included two nuclear tests but which the authorities have partially disabled in return for aid, say some observers. But that does not mean the government has given up its ambitions.

“I think they have already accumulated enough knowledge and technology so even if they just allow an inspection of Yongbyong that does not mean they have terminated the nuclear process” says Yi Ki-ho, an analyst at the Seoul branch of the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability, an international think tank.

Still, Mr. Ki added, North Korea’s diplomatic moves, coming after Pyongyang torpedoed a South Korean naval vessel last March and shelled an island last month, “is a kind of opening step.”

The shelling of Yeonbyeong island, which killed four people “was the high peak” of North Korean belligerence, Ki believes. “The next stage should be turning to negotiations.”


Talk best path to avoid a war between North and South Korea, Peter Hayes, Herald Sun, November 25th, 2010

The revelation of a working enrichment plant declares to the world – especially the US and China – that the North no longer relies only on plutonium to make nuclear weapons. Rather, within a few years at most, it will have the ability to make highly enriched uranium, and build a “multi-generational nuclear weapons state” that will be handed off to Kim Jong-un, son of the current North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, in coming decades.

Full-scale war on Korean peninsula ‘unlikely’, Michael Edwards, ABC News, November 25, 2010

An expert on North Korea, Professor Peter Hayes from RMIT University, says yesterday’s attack is evidence there is a new sense of confidence in Pyongyang.

“I think the reason, at least in part, is that [North Korea] feels it has a both compellent and deterrent capacity,” he said.”A compellent capacity in the sense that it can undertake conventional and nuclear operations to force South Korea to change its policies of hostility towards North Korea, which have come about in the last few years under the current president in South Korea, and deterrent in respect to the United States.”


Japan looks to defuse spat with China, Connect Asia, ABC Radio Australia, September 14, 2010

Richard Tanter: “It’s caught between wanting to not really ruffle Chinese feathers too much, but also fairly severe domestic pressures in three directions. One is always when China is concerned, and particularly when China appears in certain Japanese eyes, to be pushing the envelope so to speak, there is pressure on the Japanese Government to not back down. And the second is all border incidents in Japan are very sensitive. Japan is one of those country’s which has managed to have border disputes with all of its neighbours, with Russia, with China, with Taiwan, with South Korea. And the third is the question of well, we have got a coastguard, we have got a self-defence force which is in fact the navy, why don’t we use them?

I am fairly sure that Kan Naoto will himself will prefer to find a face-saving way out and similarly the Foreign Minister, Mr Okada. They are really not at all sympathetic to any of these nationalist pressures. However, they are in a very bad political situation themselves. My guess is that neither China nor Japan really wants this to escalate. There are nationalists in civil society on both sides as well as in government in China and really, I suspect the leadership in both countries will want to manage this as much as possible.


Former President Carter Reportedly Heading to North Korea, Steve Herman, Voice of America, 24 August 2010

Timothy Savage, the deputy director in Seoul for the Nautilus Institute, a public policy research group, says there may be more to Mr. Carter’s visit than just winning the release of one American.

“I think that entirely depends on what kind of leeway Carter has been given by the White House to negotiate. When Clinton went he did pass on a message, but apparently there was very little follow-up in Washington,” he said.

Engagement with the North is best (English), (Korean) Joong Ang Daily, 18 August 2010

South Korea needs to adopt a new form of engagement with North Korea – a strategy that avoids the extremes of only pressuring the North or only offering concessions – according to Peter Hayes, the director of the Nautilus Institute.


An attempt to engage North Korea on nuclear issues is proving very difficult. Do you have any suggestions?

This is a really political and psychological game that is being played, and I am suggesting that the better way to play it is to change the board you are playing on. Not play the same game as North Koreans, but tell them what the game is. Change the chess board. Change the strategic environment in which they are operating. And that requires cooperation with Japan, China, Russia and the United States, to establish an enduring, long-term nuclear-free zone.

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North seizes South Korean boat, Al jazeera, 8 August 2010


North Korea has seized a South Korean fishing boat that went missing in the Sea of Japan.Timothy Savage, a security expert at the Nautilus Institute, said the area where the boat was seized is “not clearly defined” and that “most of these countries in the region have different interpretations of what their exclusive economic zones are”.“Compared to what the North Koreans have been threatening in terms of a physical response, seizing a fishing boat, while it is unfortunate for the fishermen involved, is a relatively low response.”




US tracks illicit NKorean funds, Claudette Werde, Asia Pacific, ABC, 26 July 2010

Professor Peter Hayes, from the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability says it is unclear what Washington is trying to achieve with this latest attempt at financial sanctions [against North Korea].

The director of the international public policy think-tank says whether it is just simply trying to reassure US allies or is a possible attempt at regime change, there is a danger the North may escalate its risk taking behaviour in response.

“If you’re herding cattle and you use a cattle prod, it doesn’t take you anywhere unless there’s a gate open, so you’ve got to leave a gate open if you’re going to make these moves and not also risk escalation,” as in military blows, he says.


No plans for nuclear power in Indonesia, Lynn Lee, Straits Times, 19 June 2010

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has put a temporary end to discussions as to whether Indonesia should build nuclear power plants, saying his administration has no plans to do so. In March, a parliamentary commission had said it supported the development of nuclear energy. Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology expert Richard Tanter told the Sydney Morning Herald last year that a nuclear energy plan ‘carries high-level risks for which Indonesia is not well prepared. There are very serious volcanic and seismic risks’.


Japan’s socialist party pulls out of coalition, Sen Lam, Connect Asia, Radio Australia, ABC, 31 May 2010

Indonesia memakai tenaga nuklir, Sri Dean, SBS, April 2010

Radio SBS berbincang dengan Ir Adiwardoyo, Kepala Bidang Pengembangan Teknologi dan Energi Nuklir Nasional Badan Tenaga Nuklir Nasional (Batan) dan Ms Arabella Imhoff, Staf Peneliti, Institut Nautilus di RMIT. [Radio discussion with Ir Adiwardoyo, Head Technology Development and Nuclear Energy, Indonesian National Nuclear Energy Agency, and Arabella Imhoff, Research Officer, Nautilus Institute RMIT]

Failed bomb attack unveils real face of international terrorism, Sally Neighbour, The Australian, 8 May  2010

The failed New York car bombing has revived the spectre of home-grown terrorism that has stalked the West since 2001. Even more insidious, it reveals yet again the outstretched hand of Pakistan in global jihadist terror. In doing so, it underscores the folly of the US and its allies, including Australia, in persisting with a failing war in Afghanistan, supposedly in the name of combating terrorism, when the terrorists are in fact across the border in Pakistan.

The reality now recognised by most experts but avoided by Western governments is that the Taliban is positioned to take a pre-eminent role in the future governance of Afghanistan whenever the foreign forces leave. Richard Tanter of the Nautilus Institute at RMIT says US President Barack Obama knows there will not be a military victory in Afghanistan but, at best, an outcome that can be presented as a political victory. “It’s now very hard to see a clear strategic rationale for the Americans to be there,” he says. The rationale was originally three-pronged: to stop terrorism, establish democracy and combat the opium trade. “On all three fronts the war has been counter-productive,” says Tanter. The threat of terrorism has only been exacerbated, particularly as the war has spilled over into Pakistan. President Hamid Karzai’s government is seen as corrupt and ineffectual. And the poppy trade has flourished. Tanter says there is only one reason Australian troops remain in Afghanistan: for “alliance maintenance”.


ADF plays down warlord’s role on crucial supply chain, Mark Dodd and Jeremy Kelly, The Australian, 28 April 2010

The Australian Defence Force is reluctant to reveal too much about its well-developed links with Colonel Mutiallah Khan and his private army, which is known as the Kandak Amniante Uruzgan. The ADF will neither confirm nor deny knowledge of payments to Colonel Khan, whose paramilitary force is used to ensure security for overland convoys travelling from Kandahar to Tarin Kowt.

“The politics of Uruzgan are pretty messy, and while there is no record of the Australians having done this before (hiring warlords) – the Americans have been doing it for a long time – paying for loyalty,” said RMIT’s Afghan expert, professor Richard Tanter. “The question is – when does the loyalty run out?”


Report slip hits nuclear hopes, Daniel Flitton, The Age, 25 March 2010

In a blow to Australia’s credibility in global nuclear debates, the Rudd government has ignored a key finding from its own inquiry into disarmament, one that called for limits on the use of atomic weapons in war.

RMIT’s Richard Tanter said Australia had lost a chance to join with America’s most important ally in Asia and influence US policy. ”We always say we get a chance to speak at the table – but this time we blew it,” Professor Tanter said.

A prediction of things to come in Afghanistan, Interview with RMIT Professor Richard Tanter about new troops in Afghanistan, Susan Wilson [Filmed 25.09.2009].


Indonesia’s Govt revives interest in nuclear power plant plan, Beverley Wang, Asia Pacific, ABC, 28 January 2010

WANG: Professor Richard Tanter of RMIT’s Nautilus Institute has written extensively about Indonesia’s nuclear energy plans, and says though Indonesia’s burgeoning democracy has taken the right steps in splitting its its national nuclear atomic energy agency, BATAN, from its national nuclear regulatory body, BAPETEN, the country’s history of corruption in government must be taken into account.

TANTER: Indonesia has followed the appropriate advice from the IAEA and has ratified all the important agreements preparatory to starting an nuclear power plant. The difficulty is that corruption is very serious in Indonesia and it’s made much more serious in this case following a corruption case inside BAPETEN itself 2 yearss ago when 2 senior officials along with a Member of Parliament went to jail for five or six years for a serious issue. So in other words there are real doubts about the regulatory of BAPETEN and other parts of the Indonesian system.