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NightWatch 20150313

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For the night of 13 March 2015

North Korea: North Korea launched seven air defense missiles off its east coast. Leader Kim Jon Un reportedly was present to observe the launches.

The launches prompted a US defense spokesman to remark, "We encourage them to stop bombing fish and to begin feeding their own people."

A South Korean defense spokesman said, "We believe they test-fired different kinds of surface-to-air missiles and the longest range is about 200 km (125 miles)."

The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said Friday, 13 March, "The North Korean military fired multiple rounds of ground-to-air missiles into the East Sea from Sondok, South Hamkyong Province, at around 6-7 p.m. yesterday".

"The missiles fired were presumed to be SA-2 and SA-3 types that have a range of dozens of kilometers as well as a SA-5, which flew some 200 kilometers." The JCS spokesman said it was the first time for the North to test-fire the SA-5 missile.

Comment: As with any military force, the North Korean armed forces must and do engage in systems and missile checks. They usually schedule the timing of otherwise routine tests to serve some propaganda objective. These tests appear to fall in that category. The propaganda objective is to demonstrate that the North is not intimidated by the ongoing Allied exercises in South Korea. It is an old message that has become almost pointless.

The North has seldom, if ever, tested an SA-5 missile. It is the most capable of the North Korean air defense missiles, mainly because it can cover all of South Korea. It is an old system, first introduced in the mid-196t0s, but it still is dangerous because of its long reach at high altitudes. The North has two SA-5 launch complexes and both have long been targeted by Allied forces.

The Invasion of the North Propaganda Theme. The theme of North Korean propaganda about the Allied exercises this month is that they are rehearsals for an invasion of the North. It is a tired line that no one believes, including the North Korean people.

After German unification, South Korean financial institutions examined the costs of German unification and the estimated cost of Korean unification, by comparison. South Korean banks judged that national unification would bankrupt the state of South Korean.

South Korea could not afford the cost of unification on its own because every basic infrastructure and utility in North Korea is obsolete and needs replacement. For example, South Korea and North Korea tested sending clean, stable South Korean electricity over the North Korean power grid to compensate for the North's systemic power shortages. The test showed that such a diversion would literally burn up the power transmission lines in North Korea and put the country in the dark.

Thus, the only feasible option is for some form of federation in which the North retains responsibility for its citizens and the South helps as it can, over decades. Everyone knows this, except the North Koreans. Nobody wants to invade North Korea, least of all the US.

Special Administrative Announcement

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End of NightWatch for 13 March.

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