Night Watch

North Korea-US: Yesterday the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that the North Korean chief of the Guard Force at Panmunjom told the press on Monday that US military personnel at Panmunjom are creating provocations.

They include waving flags of various members of the UN Command - which the North no longer recognizes; using a watch tower for watching North Koreans at Panmunjom and a bit beyond; waving letters of invitation to the Military Armistice Committee conference room and using loudspeakers to make announcements directed at North Korean soldiers.

The North demanded the US stop the activities because they are rattling the nerves of the soldiers.

Comment: This is the first complaint about US actions at Panmunjom in a long time. The North's complaint contained no threat, but Panmunjom is a pressure point where misunderstandings are routine. Shooting can occur without warning, if the North decides to stage a provocation.

China: Today, Chinese police sentenced 55 people for crimes that included terrorism, murder, separatism, harboring criminals, extremism and rape. The Chinese chose to make a public spectacle and example of the criminals by holding the proceedings in a stadium filled with 7,000 people in Ili Prefecture in Xinjiang.

Chinese newspapers reported that on 26 May subway authorities began enforcing passenger and luggage checks for riders at three heavily used stations in Beijing. The security checks have doubled commute times. Three Uighur terrorist attacks against train stations are responsible for the increased security and inconvenience, according to the press.

Comment: What relate the two stories, aside from their connection to Uighur terrorism, are the measures the Chinese are prepared to take to try to stop the terrorists and maintain public confidence in the government. The last time China used mass public trials was during the social upheavals in the late 1980's and the early 1990's that accompanied economic reform.

The attacks are dangerous, but even worse are the dangers of public panic and of a breakdown in public confidence in the authorities in a population the size of China's.

Pakistan: The Pakistani Taliban movement - the TTP -- fragmented today. The Mehsud tribal faction - which formed the original core of the movement - announced it has left the larger organization to form its own group, known as the Pakistani Taliban of South Waziristan.

Night Watch

NightWatch is an internationally acclaimed nightly newsletter that tracks and assesses threats to US national security. It has an edgy, executive style unlike any other summary of its kind.

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