Night Watch

North Korea: Today North Korean officials did not answer repeated South Korean calls on the recently restored liaison phone line at Panmunjom. South Korea officials said it was related to the cancellation of the 13 June high-level meeting.

In North Korea, the party daily Rodong Sinmun published a criticism of South Korean behavior but invited South Korea to cooperate in an event to commemorate the 1972 and 2000 joint statements. "It would be able to foster an atmosphere conducive to North-South dialogue, and actively encourage improved relations. If the South Korean government truly hopes for North-South dialogue and trust, they must first throw away the knife they are cradling in their hearts and stop all actions that incite their counterparts."

Comment:  North Korea has not broadcast the cancellation of the talks to its own population. That probably explains its extension of another invitation to cooperate in its domestic propaganda. The difference in this offer is a lack of mutuality. The imagery posits South Korea going to North Korea and following the North Korean lead in arranging commemorations of past periods of better relations. The North's leaders want South Korea to pay homage to North Korean leadership and to pay… foot the bills for a joint commemoration event held in Pyongyang.

The Rodong Sinmun article is a transparent setup. The North's leaders know the offer would not be accepted. Thus, they have crafted a justification to inform the population not to expect South Koreans or jobs at Kaesong.

South Korea prudently is ignoring the North's propaganda and is concentrating on President Park's forthcoming state visit to Beijing

Iran: Comment: Presidential elections will be held on Friday, 14 June. President Ahmadi-Nejad cannot succeed himself for a third term. The candidate he and his supporters back is lagging, mainly because of Ahmadi-Nejad's failure in domestic policy.

Most of the candidates are clerics. Their differences are primarily about domestic policy issues, especially the economy. A candidate described as "moderate" is the cleric Hassan Rowhani. He has the support of past so-called reformers and reportedly is narrowly leading hard line candidates Saeed Jalili, Iran's leading nuclear negotiator, and Mohammed Baqer Qalibaf, the major of Tehran.

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