Night Watch

North Korea: The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) published a press statement by a spokesperson for the Policy Department of the DPRK National Defense Commission. The statement carried the headline, "Careless Jabbering About Our Legitimate Measures To Strengthen Self-Defensive Capabilities Should Stop." It is a reply to US and UN criticism of North Korean missile launches last week. It contained the following three points, extracted from the usual context of insults and verbal abuse.

"1. The United States and the South Korean authorities should learn the concepts of provocation and threat correctly before ever saying anything about them."

"Provocation refers to deliberately initiating a bad act or a crime, and indiscriminately finding fault with someone as a nasty habit."

"Threat refers to unsightly bragging, bluffing, blackmailing, and intimidating acts of menacing nature that recklessly target someone."

"2. The United States and the South Korean authorities should stop clinging to shameless brigandish acts they do like thieves wielding clubs"

"3. The United States and the South Korean authorities will face a strong reprisal response of our style like a bolt out of the blue, as they keep clinging to brigandish hostile acts."

Comment:The author - a spokesperson of an important department - indicates this piece is a test of propaganda themes. The author has no authority, except that borrowed from the Policy Department of the National Defense Commission. That is an important department of the most powerful political organization in North Korea. Thus, the focus is on the message from the Commission.

The first point is a brief tutorial on terms of art. Aside from the insult to the US and the UN for not knowing the terms and subjects of confrontation, the definitions disclose what on the surface appear to be the North's understanding of the terms "provocation" and "threat". Neither definition corresponds to the US Intelligence Community's understanding of the terms.

The key point is that the North appears to have opened itself to criticism on those grounds when the Allies detect "bad behavior" and so on. The definition of "threat" is potentially insightful. The North would require the Allies, to understand that they consider "unsightly bragging" a threat. The gap between that definition and the actual behavior of North Korea and the Allies is enormous.

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