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Don't Underestimate North Korea

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

North Korea: Arbor Day in North Korea is 5 April.  It is a national holiday. The official media published no new threats or official statements on the 4th and the 5th  thus far. There also were no deterrent announcements from the US requiring a response from North Korea.


Kaesong. South Korea's Unification Ministry said the 53,000 North Koreans who work at the Kaesong industrial complex did not show up for work on Friday. Plants with raw materials and supplies operated on Thursday but the entry ban remained in effect. The Ministry spokesman said 608 South Koreans remain at Kaesong but 100 are expected to return to South Korea on Saturday.

The missile. News services have published no additional reports about the missile detected on the east coast. As a rule, when the North Koreans allow a missile to be detected, other than in a parade, they launch it. Readers should expect a launch.

Apparently South Korean National Defense Minister Kim expects a launch as a demonstration and for training. Another reason to launch is to test US missile defense capabilities, reaction times and crisis management discipline.

A missile that splashed into the ocean without starting a general war is a way for the North Koreans to back down.

Comment: Many mainstream media commentaries have disparaged the North Koreans. An excellent article in The Economist reinforces the judgment that North Korean leaders do not intend to start a general war.


NightWatch judges it is a mistake to judge Kim Jong Un by the behavior of his risk-averse father. Jong Un has taken action that not even his grandfather dared take in ending the Armistice.

He also has reversed his father's work by ordering a resumption of construction on nuclear power plants. He surpassed his father in institutionalizing the nuclear industry, including nuclear weapons. One open-source imagery readout reported work started last month on construction of a new cooling tower at Yongbyon.

Flip comments that the leadership is irrational are belied by the care with which North Korea has managed its side of the confrontation, beyond the rhetoric.

Jordan: For the record. Jordan tightened security along its border with Syria, doubling the number of soldiers after the Syrian government warned Thursday that the kingdom is 'playing with fire' by allowing the U.S and other countries to train and arm Syrian rebels on its territory.

Egypt: Secular opposition groups and fundamentalist Islamic groups, both hostile to the Muslim Brotherhood and President Mursi, plan large demonstrations in Cairo and other cities on 5 and 6 April to protest rising prices, high unemployment and the Muslim Brotherhood-led government .


End of NightWatch


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