Arms Control Wonk
Jeffrey spent the past week making Singapore Slings but it didn't help dull the pain.
 
The conversation then turned to the summit and ended with a conversation about the sustainability of summits without substance and what the two sides can do in the future to settle on an actual agenda for talks.
 
Jeffrey and Aaron commiserate over the complete goat rodeo that played out, including the Joint Statement, Trump's wild presser, and KCNA's excellent trolling of John Bolton.
 
 
Links of Note:
 
Full text of the joint statement between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un.
 
The weird movie that the U.S. team showed the DPRK team and the on-site journalists.

Kim Jong Un shaking John Bolton's hand on KCNA.
 
 
Scott wrote an article over at the blog about the "missile engine test stand." Dave Schmerler also wrote a twitter thread on it.
 
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Direct download: 100.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:10pm EDT

Back in March, Putin said that Russia has been testing a nuclear-powered cruise missile and showed a little bit of video footage. Throughout April and May, stories have come out questioning the success of these tests.

Jeffrey and his team at CNS have been peaking into the test site and trying to figure out what is actually going on.  

Jeffrey and Aaron discuss using satellite images to geolocate the launch site and what that tells about the state of the program.

Links of Note:

The Gertz piece on the possibly failed tests. 

The CNBC piece on the testing regime's successes and failures.

Previous Arms Control Wonk Podcast episode on Putin's new cruise missile and other nuclear weapons. 

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Direct download: 99.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:42am EDT

This is a full end-to-end OSINT episode, buckle up. 

Using satellite imagery, SAR data, Farsi-language television coverage, one rocket scientist's favorite color, and one very important box, the team at CNS/MIIS tracked down a second solid-propellant rocket production facility in Iran.

We suspect it may be moving towards ICBM research. 

Scott ventures out to California to join Jeffrey and Dave Schmerler in person to talk about Shahrud, the history of the Iranian missile program, and one very eccentric military scientist. 

 

Links of Note:

New York Times coverage of the Shahrud research

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Direct download: 98.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:51am EDT

A Canadian reviews the last month’s news with a special guest. Andrea talks to Hamish Macdonald from NK News about what went boom at Punggye-ri, recaps the diplomatic rollercoaster ride that was May, and ponders the Max Thunder joint military exercises (during an actual thunderstorm).

 Links of note: 

Will Ripley’s Instagram snaps from his visit to Wonsan and Punggye-ri.

North Korea takes issue with the Max Thunder joint air drills.

Press statement by First Vice Minister Kim Kye Gwan, telling the US he’s not so into Bolton

Text of Trump’s letter to “His Excellency” Kim Jong Un, (maybe) cancelling the planned summit

North Korea keeps doing those pesky ship-to-ship transfers.

North Korean vessels showing up at Chinese coal ports, again….

Our new report on North Korean companies active in the global IT sector.

 

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Direct download: 97.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:34am EDT

What is going on with the Trump-Kim summit following the recent cancellation of a DPRK-ROK meeting?

Will Trump and Kim meet?

And how does John Bolton fit into all of this?

Today, Aaron and Jeffrey discuss the latest twists and turns in the run-up to the Singapore summit, and raise broader questions about denuclearization and bureaucratic politics in the United States.

 

Links of Note:

John Bolton discussing that the summit will fail.

Dig!

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Direct download: 96.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:56pm EDT

Kim Jong Un said he is closing the nuclear test site at Punggye-ri. But if outside inspectors and exports aren't allowed in, it could just be a PR stunt with no substantive contribution to "denuclearization."

Jeffrey and Aaron talk about what this means for North Korea, why inspectors and outside experts need to be allowed in, and what the upcoming Trump-Kim summit may lead to. 

Links of Note:

CNS/MIIS research on the possibility that the nuclear test site at Punggye-ri is possibly being dismantled right now. 

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 95.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:57am EDT

A Canadian reviews the last few weeks of North Korea news with a special guest. Andrea chats with Antoine Bondaz from the Foundation for Strategic Research in Paris. They dissect the optics and outcomes of the recent inter-Korean summit, analyse the responses, and look at some of the stories you may have missed amongst the flashbulbs.

Links of Note:

Full text of the Panmunjom declaration, signed by Moon Jae In and Kim Jong Un.

Rodong Sinmun’s reporting on the summit the following day. Articles herehere, and here.

Australia and Canada sending planes to monitor illicit DPRK shipping activity. UK sending ships to monitor the same.  

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 94.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:27am EDT

Bibi showed off Iran’s bomb. And its pretty crappy. The slide show added some titillating details to what the world already knew about Iran’s nuclear weapons program and, in doing so, made the case for why the JCPOA is so important. The real news was not the documents or their provenance, but what they revealed about Iran’s nuclear weapons planning.

They wanted a few bombs in the basement. Literally.

Jeffrey and Aaron talk this week about the Iranian nuclear weapons program, how Bibi added to what we already knew about their program, and why the JCPOA is important to verify that Iran’s bomb program remains confined to dusty files in binders and CDs in a dilapidated warehouse.

Links of Note:

Netanyahu's presentation.

Jeffrey's Twitter thread walking through the presentation, step-by-step.

Joshua Pollack's Defense One article on the presentation.

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Direct download: 93.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:57pm EDT

A Canadian reviews the last few weeks of North Korea news with a special guest.

Andrea talks to Ramon Pacheco-Pardo from King’s College London about DPRK summit mania. They cover the recent high-level visits to Pyongyang, Beijing and Washington, consider North Korean pledges to refrain from certain nuclear and missile testing, and debate whether this is all a house of cards.

Links of Note:

Ramon’s take on the forthcoming inter-Korean summit, for War on the Rocks.

Yonhap on the Pompeo visit to Pyongyang, one of several ROK outlets creating an echo chamber for the Asahi Shimbun story.

The North Korean statement pledging to suspend ICBM testing and nuclear testing at the “northern” test ground.

Scott’s analysis of the recent North Korean test freeze pledge, for NK News.

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

 

Direct download: 92.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:18pm EDT

Haaretz dropped an incredible article with new details about the 2007 Israeli air strike on the nascent Syrian nuclear reactor at Al Kibar.

So we thought it would be a good opportunity to interrupt Jeffrey's working vacation to talk about Al Kibar, the North Korean nuclear connection, and how our understanding of the event has evolved over the past decade.

Links of Note:

The Haaretz article with all the details on the strike on Al Kibar.

One reader's trip to the Syrian archaeological site near Al Kibar that should not, and we cannot emphasize this enough, ever be tried again.

The 2008 videos detailing the Al Kibar strike

Some ACW blog posts on Al Kibar:

Discussions on the details of the reactor.

Some US IC statements about Al Kibar.

Decisionmaking around the strike.

Al Kibar being overrun during the Civil War.

Support us over at Patreon.com/acwpodcast!

Direct download: 91.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:55am EDT