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NightWatch 20101010


For the Night of 10 October 2010

North Korea: Kim Chong-il and his child, Kim Chong-un, presided at North Korea's large military parade on 10 October to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the foundation of the Workers' Party. The leadership permitted live television coverage of the event and of the Kim's on the reviewing platform.

On 8 October, Yang Hyong-sop, Vice President of the Presidium of North Korea's Supreme People's Assembly gave an exclusive interview with the Associated Press Television News in Pyongyang. Yang said that Kim Chong-un will be North Korea's leader. He also said that the North Korean people can proudly say that they are more blessed with their leader than people of any other country around the world

Yang is the senior most official to confirm the leadership role of the young Kim. Vice President Yang said "We serve Comrade Kim Chong-un under the leadership of great leader Comrade Kim Il -sung and great leader Comrade Kim Chong-il..."

Note: The large military parade on a Party anniversary indicates the Army is the dominant force in North Korean decision making. The presence of Vice Marshal Ri between the father and son on the reviewing platform also sends that message.

China-Japan: Chinese authorities on 9 October freed the last of four Japanese contractors detained last month in a military restricted zone, Xinhua reported. Sadamu Takahashi was released on bail after authorities instructed him to write a "statement of repentance." Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara said he heard the contractor was in decent health but urged China to explain the 19-day detention.

Note: As always, the statement of repentance was the condition for release. Takahashi had more scruples than his three comrades and held out longer.

Pakistan: Update. Pakistan reopened the supply route to Afghanistan through Torkham, Khyber Agency, 10 days after its closure to a NATO helicopter attack inside Pakistan. The government has decided to immediately reopen the site after assessing all aspects of the security situation. An embassy official said trucks would likely start moving into Afghanistan on 11 October.

Iraq: Update. The al-Iraqiya List will drop its demand that former Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi become prime minister if the party is guaranteed an equal share of power in the Iraqi government, according to al-Iraqiya lawmaker Sheikh Adnan al-Danbous.

Al-Danbous, who is reported to be close to Allawi, said posts are not as important as participation in the decision-making process. He added that current Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki may retain the post as long as al-Iraqiya receives the presidency or parliamentary speakership. Al-Danbous also said negotiations are not over, and said it is unclear what positions the al-Iraqiya List will receive as al-Maliki has likely promised the presidency to the Kurdish parties

Note: This concession might form the basis for a national unity government, but al Maliki does not seem disposed to dilute his authority through genuine power sharing. The willingness for Allawi's faction to make concessions is a sign of the strength of the forces that are exerting pressure for the Iraqis to form a government.

End of NightWatch for 10 October.

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