Night Watch

North Korea: Threats. On 7 May, North Korean media published the first new threat of the month. The North threatened retaliation by missile forces if ongoing Allied anti-submarine warfare and island artillery exercises near the Offshore Islands violate its territorial sovereignty.

The Korean Central News Agency reported on 7 May the orders given by the Korean People's Army (KPA) Command for southwestern North Korea.

"The Command issued the following order to those units under it in view of the prevailing situation:

1. KPA units in the southwestern sector of the front will take immediate counteractions in case even a single shell drops over the territorial waters of our side due to the enemies' provocative shelling in the southwestern waters.

2. In case the enemies recklessly counter our counterstrikes, all striking forces will turn the five islands in the West Sea of Korea into a sea in flames with prompt actions of units of the rocket forces deployed in the southwestern sector of the front.

3. All the units and sub-units under the KPA Command in the southwestern sector of the front will simultaneously start military actions, in line with the operation plan finally ratified by the KPA Supreme Command, by a future order."

In a separate article, the North repeated that its nuclear armed forces are not negotiable.

Military status. According to South Korean media, North Korea terminated its high level combat alert for the entire armed forces, apparently on 30 April when US-ROK ground force exercises terminated. However, units in the southwest remain on high alert. The danger of a firing incident continues.

Missiles. Unidentified US officials said North Korea has taken two Musudan/BM-25 intermediate-range ballistic missiles off launch-ready status and probably returned them to storage from their position on the country's east coast.

Comment: Japan and South Korea announced they will maintain high vigilance against a surprise provocation. North Korea is capable of launching a missile from an operational missile base with little to no warning.

The show of force has ended with no test or demonstration and no apparent accomplishments yet. North Korean media have not published any boasts about defeating the US or the Republic of Korea.


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