1. ABM Treaty
John Holum, US Senior Advisor to the President and Secretary of State for Arms Control said on March 23 that it is in Russia’s interest “to avoid putting a U.S. President in a position where he has to choose between defense and the [Anti-Ballistic Missile] Treaty.” He added, “We can find a third way, which is to continue the [ABM] Treaty with modest amendments to allow the defense to proceed. I think that strengthens the Treaty, because it demonstrates … that it is not a barrier to rational adjustments dealing with new security situations.”
“Transcript: U.S. Official Discusses Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty”
Ivo H. Daalder, James M. Goldgeier and James M. Lindsay argue in the Los Angeles Times that Vladimir Putin’s election as the new president of Russia opens the door for US President Bill Clinton to negotiate a serious deal on deploying national missile defense (NMD). They called on Clinton to “move decisively to take advantage of this opportunity … to revise the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty to allow for deployment.”
“By Focusing Now, Clinton Can Renegotiate ABM Treaty”
2. Ratification of START II
US State Department official Steven Sestanovich, said that the Russian Duma appears close to ratifying the START II arms control treaty. Sestanovich stated, “we have had some indications a vote on ratification will be considered next month or soon thereafter.”
“Russians Nearing Arms Control Pact”
3. Arms Control Priorities
Matthew Bunn, director of the Managing the Atom Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, published a study entitled: “The Next Wave: Urgently Needed New Steps to Control Warheads and Fissile Material.” The report is available in pdf format.
“The Next Wave: Urgently Needed New Steps to Control Warheads and Fissile Material”
4. PRC Nuclear Arsenal
The National Security Archive has an Electronic Briefing Book on PRC nuclear weapons development. According to William Burr, the documents show that “If Beijing is ‘bent’ on acquiring nuclear forces that will bring it to parity with Washington or with Soviet Cold War force, it has a tremendous distance to go.”
“The Chinese Nuclear Weapons Program: Problems of Intelligence Collection and Analysis, 1964-1972”
5. US Nuclear Arsenal
Senior US officials said that the Energy Department plans to renovate more than 6,000 aging nuclear warheads over the next 15 years, almost double the number that the United States is allowed to deploy under the START II arms reduction treaty. They said that the added warheads will make up the “inactive reserve,” some 2,500 to 3,000 refurbished warheads that would give the US the ability to match another country’s sudden production of additional warheads.
“U.S. Plan to Renovate Warheads Stirs Opposition”
6. Pakistan Nuclear Facilities
The Federation of American Scientists has new satellite images of Pakistan’s nuclear and missile facilities. The high resolution images, acquired from the Space Imaging IKONOS satellite, cover two of Pakistan’s most important special weapons facilities, the plutonium production reactor at Khushab, and the nearby medium range missile base at Sargodha.
“Pakistan’s Nuclear and Missile Facilities Revealed”
7. Russian Nuclear Security
The Tokyo police department said that the Japanese cult Aum Shinri Kyo got hold of massive classified information about nuclear installations of Russia, Ukraine and several other countries. The department’s sources said Aum Shinri Kyo obtained this information by breaking into computer networks. The Russian Atomic Energy Ministry denied the assertions.
“Aum Implicated in Nuclear Information Stealing”
“Russia Ministry Denies Aum Shinrikyo Has Access to Its Data”
8. Russian Bombers
Russia recently expanded its strategic bomber fleet by purchasing eleven planes that had been stationed in Ukraine when it was part of the Soviet Union. Last month, Russia completed the redeployment of the eight TU-160 “Blackjack” and three TU-95MS “Bear” bombers, capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear loads. Along with the aircraft, Russia took delivery of 600 Kh-22 and Kh-55SM long-range air-to-surface cruise missiles, the main weaponry for the TU-160 and TU-95MS.
“Russia’s Strategic Bomber Force Growing”
9. Pakistan Missiles
Pakistan unveiled its Shaheen-II medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) at this year’s annual Pakistan Day parade on March 23. Dr Samar Mubarak Mund of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission’s (PAECs) National Development Complex (NDC) said last year that the missile was ready for test-firing, and Pakistani officials said the Shaheen II would be flight-tested “shortly.”
“Pakistan unveils Shaheen-II”
10. US Air Force
Williamson Murray, Professor Emeritus of History at Ohio State University argues that the US Air Force should shift its focus away from development of tactical fighter aircraft, which require access to overseas bases that may be unavailable of vulnerable to an attack in case of war, to long-range bombers.
“The United States Should Begin Work on a New Bomber Now”
11. US-Japan Alliance
Ralph Cossa argues in Pacific Forum that while signs increasingly point to the US and Japan moving toward a more equal security partnership, both sides still seem more comfortable paying lip service to this concept than to actually pursuing it.
“U.S.-Japan Relations: The Need for Strategic Dialogue”
12. US-PRC Relations
The Center for Chinese Studies, University of California, held a panel discussion on the role of the Western media in fostering US-PRC tensions. Panelists included Tom Plate, Los Angeles Times, UCLA, and Asia Pacific Media Network; Orville Schell, UC Berkeley, Timothy West, University of Colorado, and Seth Faison, The New York Times.
“Is the Western Press Partly to Blame for Sino-US Tension?”
13. Cross-Straits Tension
Michel Oksenberg, Senior Fellow at the Asia/Pacific Research Center of Stanford University, said at a recent Nixon Center seminar that the election March 18 of pro-independence opposition leader Chen Shui-bian as Taiwan’s next president is both “a danger and an opportunity” for the US, the PRC, and Taiwan. The discussion, conducted March 22, was moderated by David M. Lampton, the Nixon Center’s Director of Chinese Studies. Douglas Paal, the President of the Asia-Pacific Policy Center, acted as a commentator.
“Is China’s Leadership Adrift?”
14. Taiwan Government
Stratfor argues that although Taiwan president elect Chen Shui-Bian’s choice of current Defense Minister Tang Fei to serve as prime minister appears to be Chen’s way of preparing for a period of volatile cross-straits relations, in reality, it signals determination to maintain stability in relations with the mainland.
“Taiwan’s Defense Minister Gets Leading Role”
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