North Korea: Nuclear weapons are non-negotiable. The Workers' Party daily, Rodong Sinmun, ran an article in which the leadership repeated that nuclear weapons are not negotiable.
"The fuss made by the U.S. and its followers in the international stage as if they are interested in denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula is a ridiculous trick in expectations of concession or compromise from us who will further strengthen our war deterrence....now for us, it is unthinkable to build economic might and a strong socialist country without strengthening nuclear capacities."
North Korea will not respond to US calls to give up nuclear arms in exchange for development assistance. The newspaper said, "Our nuclear deterrence is not an object of political negotiations or economic trading."
Comment: The timing of the article indicates its purpose is to counter a recent increase in diplomatic meetings among other members of the Six Party Talks forum to explore a resumption of the talks. The South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byong-se recently completed a series of exploratory talks, including with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. The North is not disposed to talk.
The most significant language is the assertion without any conditions that North Korea will further strengthen its war deterrence. That means it will continue to build and test its military weapons.
Pakistan: New counter-insurgency operation. A military statement said, "On the directions of the government, the armed forces of Pakistan have launched a comprehensive operation against foreign and local terrorists who are hiding in sanctuaries in North Waziristan."
The army said eight militant hideouts were destroyed and 105 "terrorists" were killed, most of them Uzbeks. The statement said among the dead was Abu Abdul Rehman al-Maani, an Uzbek believed to have helped organize the attack last week on Karachi international airport.
According to the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) office, the military operation "Zarb-e-Azb" was launched against local and foreign terrorists. The operation is named after the sword Muhammad used in two wars against the enemies of Islam. "It would be a comprehensive operation against the terrorists who had established sanctuaries in North Waziristan," a military official said.
According to ISPR, the army has been given the task of eliminating the terrorists. It said the process of identifying terrorists' sanctuaries has been completed.
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