Friday, April 05, 2013
All Embassies Told To Evacuate N. Korea; Norks Deploy Another Long Range Missile
North Korea has told foreign embassies that they cannot guarantee diplomat's security as of April 10th, sparking a huge exodus of embassy staffs from Pyonyang.
While America has no embassy in North Korea,about two dozen countries do, including Britain, which has confirmed that it was informed by the regime that its diplomats are at risk but also said in a statement it has no immediate plans to withdraw them.
North Korea has also deployed a second long range Musudan missile at launching sites on its east coast. The Musudan has an effective range of about 1,800 miles (3,000 kilometers), more than enough to hit Japan and a number of other U.S. bases in the region, like Guam and Okinawa.Both missiles are reportedly locked and loaded on mobile launchers.
The Taepodong 1 has about twice that range.
In response, the U.S. is deliberately backing off. The Pentagon is no longer issuing statements about joint military exercises with South Korea, although the exercises, code named 'Foal Eagle,' are still ongoing.
'Our actions thus far have had their intended effect: they've shown our deterrence capability and our willingness to defend South Korea. We always make adjustment and if going quiet for a short period of time gives the North Koreans space to dial back their rhetoric, fine,' said one U.S. official.
Chinese and Russian diplomats are also urging calm to allow the tension to dissipate.
My personal analysis? We aren't headed for a war, at least not this time. At most, what we might see is a missile test, with the Norks firing a missile into the sea that passes over Japan.
I'm basing this on several things.
First, Kim Jong Un just took over. The bellicose rhetoric and military fervor is a way of getting his generals behind him and consolidating the succession.
Second, as I mentioned previously, there is a huge Chinese military buildup on the North Korean border.
While I was uncertain at the time exactly what the Chinese military buildup signified, new information has come to light.
One of my notorious Little Birdies responded to an e-mail and let me know that the Chinese sent a pretty direct message to Kim.
He had requested a few days ago that China send an envoy to North Korea "to coordinate strategy."
The Chinese promptly moved fresh troops to the borders and informed Kim that if he had something to discuss, it was his business to send an envoy to China rather than the other way around. That combined with the troop buildup was their way of reminding Kim that they made him and they can break him.
This has since been confirmed by a number of sources, including the
China is obviously telling Kim that in the event things get out of hand, they're perfectly capable of removing him.
So what we're seeing here by the Norks is sabre rattling designed to try and get concessions out of the west and black mail South Korea. That has worked before, and we will undoubtedly see whether it works again.