Night Watch

North Korea - The Allies: North Korean media published an official denunciation of annual Allied exercises in South Korea and warned that they are dangerous. Excerpts follow.

"Despite the unanimous denunciation by the public at home and abroad, it was openly announced that huge Key Resolve and Foal Eagle joint military exercises will be staged for months from the end of February. This has created such a deplorable situation in which huge aggression troops of the U.S. are deployed in areas close to the Military Demarcation Line."

"The U.S. and puppet warmongers are claiming that the purpose of the drill is to take control of nuclear facilities in the north and occupy Pyongyang in case of "emergency in the north" This is another serious military provocation against the DPRK and an outright challenge to the good faith of the DPRK and the public opinion at home and abroad."

"We sternly warn the U.S. and the south Korean authorities to stop the dangerous military exercises which may push the situation on the peninsula and the north-south ties to a catastrophe."

"They should clearly understand that the north-south ties will plunge into a deadlock and unimaginable holocaust and that disaster will follow should they go ahead with the nuclear war drills and make military provocation, defying our warning."

Comment: North Korean forces are in the middle of their annual winter training cycle. Allied exercises will occur during the period of peak combat readiness for North Korean forces in late February and March. The timing of the US reinforcements and Allied training purposely is scheduled to deter North Korean provocations. North Korea knows this after more than 60 years.

The North Korean message is that there will be no progress in North-South ties during the exercises. That is normal. More importantly, the language in the North's statement is rather benign compared to last year at this time. The protest is pro forma, while the North turns inward to stabilize the leadership.

Thailand: Thailand's prime minister said Wednesday that elections due in less than three weeks will go ahead despite pressure by her opponents to postpone the vote. The statement came after an overnight shooting attack on anti-government protesters in Bangkok wounded two people.

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