For the Night of 1 December 2010
The Korea Confrontation
South Korea: Foreign Minister Kim Sung Hwan spoke with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe summit in Kazakhstan. Kim told Lavrov that South Korean greatly appreciated Russia's condemnation of North Korea's artillery attack on a South Korean border island, according to South Korea's Foreign Ministry.
Kim and Lavrov also discussed bilateral relations as well as the situation on the Korean Peninsula, with Kim agreeing to work closely with Russia on the issue.
North Korea-China: Chairman of the North Korean Supreme People's Assembly Choe Tae-bok began a five-day visit to China on 30 November at the invitation of Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China Wu Bangguo. Choe and Wu met on 1 December at the Great Hall of the People to discuss bilateral relations, inter-parliamentary exchanges and issues of mutual concern.
The two pledged to continue bilateral legislative ties. The meting was the third this year. W said the regularity of meetings reflects the special relationship between the two legislatures.
South Korea-US: Foreign Minister Kim Sung Hwan and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton agreed that six-party talks with North Korea should only resume after Pyongyang makes concrete steps signaling its commitment to giving up its nuclear program, according to South Korea's Foreign Ministry. Kim and Clinton reached their consensus on the sidelines of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe summit in Kazakhstan.
It is not clear whether this is a rejection of China's request for an emergency meeting, but it appears to be so.
China: Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said all parties should remain calm and exercise restraint to bring the tense situation on the Korean Peninsula back to the path of dialogue and negotiation, adding that China decides its position on the merits of the case and does not seek to protect any one side. Hmm…
Japan-US: More than 40,000 Japanese and American troops begin week-long military exercises on 2 December, 10 days after North Korea's artillery attack on a South Korean island. The aircraft carrier USS George Washington will join a force of about 400 aircraft and 60 warships. Drills will include responding to ballistic missile attacks on unspecified Pacific islands, the Joint Staff of the Japan Self-Defense Forces said. South Korean observers have been invited.
South Korea: North Korea is highly likely to threaten another attack as internal complaints grow over its hereditary power succession and its economic situation worsens, South Korean National Intelligence Service chief Won Sei Hoon is quoted as saying to South Korean lawmaker Rhee Beum Kwan, Yonhap reported 1 December.
The South Korean military has deployed Cheonma surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) on Yeonpyeong Island, an unnamed military source said. The Cheonma missile, which has an effective range of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles), is the first SAM developed by South Korea, according to military officials.
Readers might wonder why no air defense missiles were based on an island located 6 miles from North Korea before this.
South Korea-US: The two Allies are in discussions about several more rounds of joint military exercises designed to deal with a limited provocation by North Korea, a spokesman from the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said. He added that the timing and the details of participating military assets have not yet been decided.
Russia: For the record. The Russian military has completed reorganizing its military districts and is now organized into four military districts instead of six, Interfax-AVN reported 1 December. The announcement was made by Lt. Gen. Andrei Tretyak, the deputy chief of the general staff and head of the Main Directorate for Operations.
The Western Military District will be headquartered in St. Petersburg, the Southern Military District will be headquartered in Rostov-on-Don, the Central Military District will be headquartered in Yekaterinburg, and the Eastern Military District will be headquartered in Khabarov.
Comment: This has been in the works for at least five years. Russian military downsizing has been extraordinarily painful but is coming to an end.
For the record. STRATFOR published an essay on intelligence that posited that the tension in the intelligence world is between collectors and others and analysts. That mischaracterizes of the source of the tension and shows very limited insight.
At the national level, among national agencies, there is an overwhelming volume of information sharing on thousands of topics, but not necessarily on the right topics. The sources are well protected. An experienced professional can scan more than 2,000 reports per hour from 16 different agencies, if he has tweaked his message profile.
The tension is not between collectors and analysts, but between Security and the information flood. How do an agency's security people protect more than 50,000 electronic messages per hour in computer profiles for - or from -- disgruntled employees with clearances, every hour of every day?
State Department's effort to be a team player after 9/11 by making most SECRET-classified State cables accessible to anyone with a SECRET clearance now appears to have been excessive. It enabled the Wikileaks event this week.
In an earlier time, no PFC in the Army would ever have had such access to diplomatic traffic. Prior to 1986 the government had no personal computer work stations. Then, a PFC got to read the paper reports that senior personnel gave him to read and evaluate. He was accountable for them, usually had to sign a custodian's receipt and had a deadline for his evaluation. That system was inflexible to the point of near uselessness, but it was secure.
The US intelligence confederation of agencies still has not found a formula for balancing security and access that is any better than "need to know." 9/11 showed that "need to know" is too restrictive for efficient counter terror cooperation. The Wikileaks event showed that the "need to share" initiative is too broad to ensure security of critical information and systems.
This is a domain still waiting for a new good idea.
End of NightWatch for 1 December.
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