Night Watch

North Korea-South Korea: North Korea rejected the South's suggestion to hold working-level talks for developing a more permanent solution to the issue of separated families.

The Ministry of Unification announced today it had received a message bearing the name of the chairman of the Korean Red Cross Central Committee that stated, "Currently, an environment and atmosphere conducive for talks regarding family reunions between the North and South Red Cross delegations cannot be fostered."

"Considering inter-Korean relations, grave humanitarian issues like the regularization of reunions for separated families are not issues to be solved through the Red Cross. Let's tackle humanitarian issues in a humanitarian way," the message concluded.

Comment: The South's suggestion was a probe to determine the duration and extent of the North's reconciliation policy. It seems to be suspended for now, probably for the duration of Allied exercises. However, the second paragraph of the North's response appears to contain a counter-offer that invites development of a new channel for handling humanitarian issues, which appears to be similar to the South's original suggestion.

Pakistan: According to a Pakistani press service, former president Pervez Musharraf has submitted an application -- written in first person -- to the special court in which he requests and argues for permission to travel abroad for his own treatment as well as to attend to his ailing mother.

He argued he needed to work with his own cardiologist, instead of the military doctors. He noted his cardiologist lives in Texas. He promised to return to Pakistan whenever the court required his presence.

Musharraf also stated that his mother is 94 years old, residing in Dubai and she is suffering from a number of serious ailments. "She has been in and out of the hospital and is under constant medical supervision. I consider it imperative to see her and ensure that she is being properly looked after."

Comment: On the merits, Musharraf stated no grounds for the court to grant him leave to travel, especially because he is being tried for treason. His letter exudes confidence that he will beat the charge. Thus far, the court's handling of the case has minimized the danger of a popular, anti-Musharraf backlash and an army backlash against the government for trying in civil court one of its former leaders.

Russia-US: The Russian president's website posted the following summary of talks between the Russian and US presidents.


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