Night Watch

North Korea: For the record. Insult and invective against South Korea for disrespecting the North's leaders dominated North Korean media. But nothing the South Korean protestors did to Kim photos last Saturday can match what happened in the town and county seat of Musan on the 14th. Defectors reported that a large mural of the Kims that had been created for the 15 April celebrations collapsed from high winds. Musan is in northeastern North Korea, on the Chinese border.

This supposedly has never happened before. Aside from being a bad portent, the tiles were scattered all over. Apparently some of the cement was sold by workers to make some extra cash. The workers, their families and the county officials all risk execution. Defacing and dishonoring a Kim image is a capital offense.

The incident is under investigation by the highest authorities.

Missiles. They have not been detected in a week.

China-North Korea: At today's Foreign Ministry press conference, a reporter asked about North Korea's conditions for dialogue. The question and official reply are repeated below.

"Question: The DPRK today laid out its preconditions for holding dialogue with the United States and the ROK, including the lifting of Security Council sanctions on the DPRK and a promise to end US-ROK military exercises. Does the Chinese side have any comment on that?"

"Answer: Maintaining peace and stability on the peninsula and in Northeast Asia at large and realizing the denuclearization of the peninsula serve the common interests of the relevant parties and also represent the joint responsibility of all sides. The current situation on the peninsula is highly complicated and sensitive."

"We urge all sides to remain calm and restrained and to jointly push for a lowering of the temperature surrounding the situation as soon as possible."

"We consistently advocate dialogue and consultations as the only correct way to resolve issues on the peninsula. The top priority right now is to step up diplomatic efforts and return as soon as possible to the right track of dialogue and negotiations. We hope for and support the easing of tensions, the improvement of relations, and the appropriate resolution of related issues through dialogue by the relevant parties."

Night Watch

NightWatch is an internationally acclaimed nightly newsletter that tracks and assesses threats to US national security. It has an edgy, executive style unlike any other summary of its kind.