North Korea-South Korea: One day after agreeing to resume family reunions in late February, North Korean authorities linked the reunions to upcoming US-Republic of Korea joint military exercises. The North announced that "dialogue and wartime invasion exercises, reconciliation and agitating for confrontation; these can never go hand in hand."
"It would be nonsense to hold reunions of families scattered by a previous war in the midst of treacherously dangerous nuclear war exercises," according to a statement from the National Defense Commission (NDC). "The South Korean authorities must rid themselves of their confrontational character and act decisively to meet the expectations of the people."
The statement also claimed that an American B-52 bomber took part in exercises yesterday. The statement asked, "How can South Korea shout about building trust and improving relations while they are throwing open their sovereign airspace to allow American nuclear-capable bomber formations to crawl in?"
Comment: Today's National Defense Commission statement tends to confirm the NightWatch hypothesis that the "one nation" theme is a propaganda ploy. Kim Jong Un and his advisors are acting out the old reunification script that leads nowhere. Based on yesterday’s statement, 100 South and North Korean families are not likely to meet this month, despite government promises and agreements.
The South needs an aggressive counter-propaganda strategy that questions why the North has to train so much to invade South Korea, if its intentions are so benign. To repeat, the North's Winter Training Cycle is completely inconsistent with dialogue, reconciliation and national unity.
Pakistan: Peace talks between the Pakistani government and representatives of the Taliban began on Thursday. "Today, we started the journey for peace, and both sides have agreed to complete it as soon as possible," the chief government negotiator said.
After four hours of talks, the two sides issued a joint statement in which both sides called for avoiding any steps that could disrupt the peace process. The statement listed the government's five conditions for a permanent agreement. The representatives of the Pakistani Taliban offered no terms.
The government conditions follow:
•All talks to be held within the framework of the Pakistani Constitution;
•The scope of the talks should remain confined to areas affected by violence, not the whole country;
•All hostilities should cease during talks;