– North Korea is really, really upset now. And they’re formally letting the White House and Pentagon know:
“We formally inform the White House and Pentagon that the ever-escalating U.S. hostile policy toward the DPRK (North Korea) and its reckless nuclear threat will be smashed by the strong will of all the united service personnel and people and cutting-edge smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear strike means of the DPRK and that the merciless operation of its revolutionary armed forces in this regard has been finally examined and ratified,” an unnamed spokesman for the General Staff of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) told Pyongyang’s official news agency, KCNA.
Or something like that, anyway. They said some other scary stuff, too, namely—and I’m paraphrasing here—that given the current situation, the question is not whether or not there will be a war, but whether it will happen right away or tomorrow.
Just to be safe, the United Stats will be moving a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System (THAAD) Ballistic Missile Defense system to Guam.
– Some 222 South Korean workers are coming home today from Kaesong. From what I can gather, though, that still leaves over 600 South Koreans in Kaesong crying out “Take me hostage! Please!”
– Hey, China is “seriously concerned.” And they’re calling for both sides to show “restraint”:
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters in Beijing that the country’s deputy foreign minister, Zhang Yesui, had expressed serious concern over the crisis in a meeting with ambassadors from the US and South Korea.
“In the present situation, China believes all sides must remain calm and exercise restraint and not take actions which are mutually provocative and must certainly not take actions which will worsen the situation,” he said.
You’ve got to give the Chinese this, though—they match their rhetoric with action. Beijing has been a model of restraint, doing virtually nothing since North Korea began its nuclear program in the 1990s.
– A North Korean “defector” stole a boat on Yeonpyeongdo and sailed across the NLL to North Korea. Happy returns, comrade. I really hope NIS can take some time off from commenting on political websites to improve their defector screening techniques.
– Japan’s Asahi Shimbun reports that US spy satellites have picked up what they believe to be North Korea moving its new, long-range KN-08 missile on a train to the East Sea. North Korea claims the missile has a range of 10,000 km, but local military authorities think it can fly just 5,000—6,000 km, which would still give it enough juice to hit Hawaii or Alaska. At any rate, nobody is sure what the thing is the photos was, or if the KN-08 is even real.
Anyway, given the threats emanating from North Korea recently, I’d say if anything resembling a long-range missile gets detected being fueled, it stands a very good chance of meeting with an “accident.” Dangerous places, these rocket bases.
– What do corporate CEOs and North Korea have in common? They both apparently recognize the importance of Austin, Texas. Just ask Gov. Rick Perry.
– Might the US still be worried that in the event of a North Korean provocation, the South Koreans will unnecessarily escalate the situation? The Americans have to be thinking it, although I can’t imagine there’s much they can tell Seoul that will stop them from really letting the North Koreans have it, if that’s what the South Koreans make up their minds to do. In fact, I think if North Korea does something especially egregious, there’s a pretty good chance we’ll see a demonstration of US air power over North Korea. I have nothing to back up that assertion, mind you. Just a feeling I’ve got.
– For what it’s worth, helicopters have been in and out of Cheong Wa Dae this morning. I’m guessing it’s pretty busy over there.