Saturday, July 18, 2009


North Korea Watch: Watching a Little Less Carefully

According to this piece on the Yonhap news agency, U.S. and South Korean officials are considering lowering the level of surveillance operations on North Korea, as its hostile actions have taken a downturn.

Officials at the Combined Forces Command (CFC) said it was considering lowering the "watch condition" by a notch from the current second-highest level, as the latest military intelligence suggests no sign of an immediate threat by the North.

The piece explains that the CFC's watchcon has five stages. It is currently at the second-highest level (which is where is was after the first atomic test in 2006). The third level they may lower it to calls for "attentive monitoring" of military activities in the North, the article states.

The official said that military officials from the two countries were consulting on the plan to lower watchcon. The plan is expected to be finalized early next week after Gen. Walter Sharp, head of the CFC, returns to South Korea from his trip to the U.S.

As Kim Jong-il may not have a lot of time left, it's entirely possible that more provocations will occur, as he needs to solidify the positioning of his son.

It remains doubtful, though, that it will progress beyond provocations. Even the cyber attacks are "fizzling out" and North Korea's involvement in them remains unproven.


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