Received a message that says some twitter chatter assesses that this is going to mean a strike on the Northwest Islands.
If they do fire there the ROK is going to have a massive response.
Two things: One is that we have seen Kim Jong-un visiting there and taking lots of photos with women and children. Perhaps they are going to try to provoke the ROKs into a decisive response and then go for the propaganda win by saying that the ROKs killed all these women and children. We will see photos of dead women and children and of course the claim will be that they were the ones that Kim Jong-un had just visited.
However a second COA is that they will not conduct an action in the Northwest Islands at all. This is merely deception to keep all the focus there when in fact they plan to conduct a provocation somewhere else and may be of a type no one is expecting. That of course will make the ROK look bad because they cannot defend against the north as it has to ability to conduct strike or operations at the time and place of its choosing and the ROK cannot defend everywhere.
So in either case they will attempt to discredit the ROK.
But the question is what is their and game for this round? I think they are trying to "sell us" an April nuclear test and try to drive us to be extorted so that we provide the political and economic concessions in return for them not conducting a nuclear test. They think they are providing a "win-win" so that we win by them not conducting another nuclear test and of course they get what they want (and of course they have no need to conduct another nuclear test so soon after their last one so they can "sell" a unnecessary test to us).
But I think the regime is miscalculating the US response. I do not think this Administration is going to allow itself to be blackmailed so soon after missile and nuclear tests. As much as some do not want another test, I do not think there is anyone in the Administration who thinks they could handle the political fallout if they give in to the north.
On the other hand I had thought they were miscalculating the ROK response but perhaps they do expect it now and they are planning accordingly.
2013/03/14 09:42 KST
N. Korean leader guides artillery exercise against S. Korean islands
SEOUL, March 14 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un guided artillery exercises that targeted South Korean islands in the Yellow Sea, the communist country's media reported Thursday.
The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) report monitored in Seoul said Kim oversaw live ammunition drills to test the capabilities of artillery batteries under real battle conditions. It said that exercises were aimed at the islands of Baengnyeong and Yeonpyeong that lie just south of the Northern Limit Line (NLL) that acts as the de facto sea border between the two Koreas. The North does not recognize the NLL and has tried to impose its own demarcation line that has been rejected by Seoul.
Kim's actions come as Pyongyang put its armed forces on high alert in response to the joint South Korea-U.S. Foal Eagle and Key Resolve military exercises that began in earnest on Monday. It also follows the isolationist country's moves to ratchet up tensions on the Korean Peninsula by unilaterally nullifying the Armistice Agreement that halted the Korean War (1950-53) and claiming all nonaggression pacts between the two countries were null and void. The North on several occasions has threatened to turn Seoul and Washington into a "sea of fire" and boasted it has significant nuclear weapons capability to deal with outside aggressors.
The North's official news wire service, meanwhile, did not give the exact date of the exercise or the units involved, but it likely took place on Wednesday, and involved batteries capable of targeting Baengnyeong and Yeonpyeong. It said the North Korean leader, who holds the rank of marshal in the Korean People's Army, was pleased with the level of accuracy of the artillery units.
(Continued at the link below)