Night Watch

North Korea: Kaesong to close. The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported,

"Secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea Kim Yang Gon visited the Kaesong Industrial Zone (KIZ) Monday to size up the situation….

"Kim Yang Gon was accompanied by officials concerned of the Secretariat of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea and the General Bureau for Central Guidance to the Development of the Special Zone."

"Kim Yang Gon toured the Kaesong Industrial Zone office of the General Bureau, Kaesong Industrial Zone combined supporting center and other units and production sites inside the zone.

He also went to the checkpoint in the zone and the central line separating the north-south road along the Military Demarcation Line. …

"It has become impossible to operate the zone as usual due to the south Korean warmongers' reckless acts, Kim Yang Gon said. "

"He held a consultative meeting on the spot and entrusted relevant fields with detailed tasks, urging them to get fully ready to cope with whatever development in the zone."

Later the Korean Central Broadcasting Station carried a statement by Secretary Kim Yang Gon,

"…Under the condition in which the South Korean authorities are showing animosity in return for our generosity and compatriotic affection, it has become inevitable for us to make an important decision regarding the issue of the KIZ."

"Upon authorization, I declare the following important steps with regard to the crisis in the KIZ:

1. We will withdraw all our employees who worked at the Kaesong Industrial Zone.

2. Under the circumstances in which the South Korean authorities and military warmongers are defaming our dignity and attempting to turn the KIZ into a hot spot of confrontation between compatriots and provocation for a war of northward aggression, we will temporarily suspend business in the industrial zone and examine whether it will be maintained or closed."

"The General Bureau for Central Guidance to the Development of the Special Zone will be responsible for executing the working business related to the important steps including the withdrawal of our employees and the temporary suspension of the business of the industrial zone."

South Korea: During this Watch, the BBC reported information from the South Korean Unification Ministry that North Korean workers, some 53,000 of them, failed to show up for work on the morning of 9 April. The Ministry said 479 South Koreans remain on site.

Comment:  Kim Yang Gon is the party secretary who oversees Kaesong.  His was a combined Party and government inspection party.

The North Koreans cited as justification the remarks last week by the South Korean National Defense Minister about making plans to rescue the South Korean workers still at Kaesong, should they be held hostage. The North's reasoning is that closure of the zone will prevent it from becoming a zone of fighting.

The North Korean authorities have not expelled, yet, the South Koreans but that should occur by 10 April. Closure of Kaesong will impose an incalculable hardship on over 100,000 Korean family members. Jobs at Kaesong were considered among the best paying available for Korean workers.

The closure and departure of the South Korean workers will eliminate a significant security problem in the middle of the North Korean Second Army Corps.

In the Rear. Planting has begun. According to Daily NK sources, all reserve forces have been sent back to their places of work and the annual drive to gather manure for fertilizer is well underway, as of 8 April.

According to one source, "The reserves who had been mobilized for combat exercises over the past few months all returned their weapons to their local Ministry of People's Safety (the police) office arms store on the 1st (of April) and went back to work. Having carried out public and enterprise rallies in accordance with decisions made at the Party Central Committee plenum last month, each province, county and city is now working on producing fertilizer."

The source added, "Until last month there were Worker and Peasant Red Guards and other reserves on the streets, all in uniform with their backpacks and guns, but now there are only workers with shovels and hoes, mobilized to produce manure for the farms. Even those soldiers who were living underground in the mountains have returned to normal life in the barracks."

"Posters about war have been replaced with posters about the economy or slogans about this or that 'March Party Central Committee decision'."

Comment: Information from North Korea continues to be split between actions that enhance national readiness and actions that show normality. At this time, South Korean and US intelligence should be able to confirm whether North Korean soldiers have begun planting. Even the North Korean Army Corps immediately north of the Demilitarized Zone must grow their own food.

If planting is not taking place, then readiness in the four army corps is high and the situation is not normal.

North Korea-Japan: For the record. North Korea warned Japan that it could be the target of a North Korean missile attack if it does not stop following the hostile US policy by extending Japanese sanctions against North Korea.

Comment: Japanese sanctions are the harshest of any imposed on North Korea. Japan has deployed Aegis-equipped destroyers with ballistic missile defense systems and activated land-based systems to safeguard against a North Korean attack.

China and Russia are the only neighbors North Korea has not yet threatened.

Pakistan: Former president and chief of army staff Pervez Musharraf's application to run for parliament in the 11 May elections is running into trouble. He applied as a candidate in four jurisdictions, but only one has accepted his application, but on condition that he is not arrested for treason. That jurisdiction is Chitral in far northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province along the Afghan border.

Meanwhile a two-judge panel of the Supreme Court of Pakistan has agreed to hear five petitions against Musharraf to have him tried for treason for usurping the constitution when he was president.

Comment: Musharraf returned to Pakistan on 24 March more or less declaring himself its savior. He seems to have indulged a delusion of his essentiality to the future of Pakistan. His slogan is "save Pakistan."

The reality is that he has drawn no crowds of supporters and the general population blames him for the US drone campaign and for compromising Pakistan's independence by supporting the US operations in Afghanistan. He could end up hanged for treason because he did suspend the constitution without authority in November 2007 and detained judges of the Supreme Court, including the current Chief Justice.

For now he is under a Sindh Province High Court ban from leaving the country.

End of NightWatch

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