Night Watch

Republic of Korea-North Korea: On Monday, 7 April, North Korea criticized South Korea for test-firing a ballistic missile capable of reaching all parts of the North.

On 23 March, South Korea successfully tested a ballistic missile with a range of 500 kilometers and a payload of 1 ton at a firing range southwest of Seoul. The missile hit the intended target.

The North's National Defense Academy called the launch a grave provocation. It said that Pyongyang will not sit idle and will deal sternly with provocations.

"If even a single missile, be it from the U.S. or South Korea, falls on North Korean territory, we will wipe out the enemy's strongholds by mercilessly firing a salvo of missiles," the academy said in a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

Comment: A statement by the North's scientists represents a low-level reaction, compared to a statement by the National Defense Commission, for example. Monday's statement lookspro formarelative to the North's stock of threatening language. Nevertheless, the statement is important because it confirms that the missile test got North Korea's attention. The two Koreas are communicating on the same level.

Japan: The Defense Minister gave orders on Saturday for Japanese forces to destroy any North Korean ballistic missile that threatens to hit Japan in the coming weeks. Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera issued the order in reaction to North Korea's recent firing of medium-range ballistic missiles, a government source said.

The order took effect on Thursday, 3 April, and runs through 25 April, which will be Founder's Day - the 82d anniversary of the formation of the Korean People's Army.

Following the order, the Maritime Self Defense Force ordered a destroyer equipped with the Aegis anti-missile system to deploy to the Sea of Japan. It is authorized to fire if North Korea launches a missile that Japanese leaders judge poses a danger of striking or falling on Japanese territory.

The US Secretary of Defense announced on 6 April that the US will deploy two more Aegis-equipped destroyers to Japan by 2017.

Comment: The Japanese government made no public announcement to try to prevent disruption of recent direct talks between Japan and North Korea. Nevertheless, Japan also is communicating in a language North Korea understands.

Night Watch

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