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North Korea: More Missiles. The North's military moved two launchers believed to be for Scud short range ballistic missiles to the east coast last week, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency, which cited a senior Seoul official.

 

"We have discovered the North has moved two additional TELs (transporter-erector-launchers) to the east coast ... after 16 April," the official was quoted as saying.

 

Comment: The report did not specify the location of the newly detected missiles, but the context suggests it is near the two intermediate range missiles between the cities of Wonsan and Hamhung on the east coast.

 

Media. On 20 April, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) published a summary of a party daily "special article entitled, "There Will Be No DPRK-US Talks on Denuclearization."

 

"The U.S. is now talking about "dialogue" with the DPRK, putting up the latter's step for denuclearization as a precondition for dialogue."

 

"High-ranking U.S. officials let loose a spate of rhetoric that President Obama ordered to cancel some military drills, contributing to detente, the DPRK should be sincere in the efforts for realizing denuclearization and dialogue is possible only when it opts for denuclearization."

 

"Rodong Sinmun Saturday observed in a bylined article in this regard: This is nothing but rhetoric prompted by the U.S. crafty ploy to shift the blame for the tension on the Korean Peninsula on to the DPRK and put international pressure on it…."

 

"The U.S. should not think about the denuclearization on the peninsula before the world is denuclearized…"

 

"The DPRK's stand is clear."

 

"The U.S. should not think about the denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula before the world is denuclearized. There may be talks between the DPRK and the U.S. for disarmament but no talks on denuclearization."

 

Comment: The position the Pyongyang government announced in March has not changed. The changed perspective continues in which the US is threatening a nuclear attack against North Korea. Presumably, that sets the groundwork for declaring victory when no attack occurs by the end of the month. 

 

No 1 Combat Duty. The text of the Rodong Sinmun article is much longer than the KCNA summary and was intended for the internal audience. It mentioned in passing that the US nuclear threat was the reason that the armed forces were placed at the highest alert condition. NightWatch added the emphasis.

 

"….As long as the United States threatens us with nuclear weapons, our position is to repulse that with nuclear weapons. The fact that our army has entered a No 1 combat duty posture to strike the bases of the US imperialist forces of aggression in the Pacific operational theater, including the US mainland, with our style of powerful, precision nuclear strike means is a reflection of our intent not to tolerate any longer the nuclear threat the United States has made against us for the past several decades. The United States should understand that the era of threatening us with nuclear weapons is finished forever…."

 

Comment: This is the first reference to the No 1 combat duty posture since the order was announced on 26 March. The language of the text indicates that the order has not been rescinded. However, normality has crept all across the civilian sector.

 

The North's public statements beginning 18 April appear disjointed and confused. Clarifications required clarification and a one day standdown to clear the airwaves. Everything published has approval by one of the department of the Secretariat of the Central Committee. Thus, a signed article has some warrant of authority, but it is low in the propaganda hierarchy.

 

What makes this article noteworthy is KCNA republished its main points. The leadership liked it but wanted it crisper for the US audience.

 

Pakistan: Update. Former president Musharraf was remanded to house arrest at his villa near Islamabad on 20 April for two weeks until his next hearing. Musharraf is fighting prosecutions in the Islamabad High Court, the Anti-Terrorism Court and the Supreme Court of Pakistan. On 22 April he faces a hearing on treason charges before the Supreme Court.

 

End of NightWatch

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