North Korea fires three short-range missiles as Japan envoy pays “secret” visit

posted at 11:31 am on May 18, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Say, remember those fun-loving nutcases just above the 38th Parallel?  Perhaps they’re worried you don’t:

North Korea fired three short-range missiles from its east coast on Saturday, South Korea’s Defense Ministry said, but the purpose of the launches was unknown.

Launches by the North of short-term missiles are not uncommon, but the ministry would not speculate whether these latest launches were part of a test or training exercise.

North Korea fired short-range guided missiles twice in the morning and once in the afternoon off its east coast,” an official at the South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman’s office said by telephone.

Japan said none of the missiles landed in their territorial waters.  They’re probably not going to react much to short-range missile launches, nor would these kind of missile launches be designed to provoke Tokyo in the first place.  This is most likely a long-delayed response to Seoul’s partnership with the US in conducting war games this spring.

If so, it’s, er … uncharacteristically lame.  Three days ago, Pyongyang scolded Seoul for its own supposed provocations, but also gave a strong hint that the DPRK wants to talk about the shuttered Kaesong industrial zone:

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) urged Wednesday the South Korean authorities to stop provocation if it wants to start dialogue on the Kaesong industry zone (KIZ), the official news agency KCNA reported.

“We remind the South Korean authorities once again that the prospect of KIZ and the future orientation of the north-south relations entirely depend on their attitude,” a spokesman for the General Bureau for Central Guidance to the Development of the Special Zone told KCNA.

The remark is a response to a Tuesday proposal by the South Korea’s Ministry of Unification under the instruction of South Korean President Park Geun-hye to hold working-level talks at the truce village of Panmunjom to alleviate the ongoing plight of the 123 South Korean companies that have been forced out of the complex.

“If the south side truly intends to normalize the operation of KIZ, it should not talk about dialogue with unessential issues such as the issue of communications and carrying out of goods but opt for settling basic issues and stop provocative remarks and confrontation racket against the DPRK,” said the unidentified spokesman.

The “confrontation racket” refers to the US/RoK war games, but it’s a more apt description of the temper tantrums in which the Kim regime has indulged over the last several months.  It’s even more inexplicable, considering Pyongyang’s recent diplomatic coup:

A small crack has appeared in the international show of unity against North Korea‘s development of nuclear weapons, following the “secret” visit to Pyongyang this week by a special adviser toJapan‘s prime minister, Shinzo Abe.

Isao Iijima arrived in the North Korean capital on Tuesday for a four-day visit that many believe was aimed at restarting talks on the regime’s cold war abduction of Japanese citizens, who were used to train communist agents.

Tokyo‘s decision to engage with the North was apparently known initially to only a handful of officials at the prime minister’s office; Tokyo had not even notified its regional partners of Iijima’s plans, to the barely concealed irritation in Seoul and Washington.

“We don’t think Isao Iijima’s visit to North Korea was helpful,” South Korean foreign ministry spokesman Cho Tae-Young said.

Well, neither were the short-range missile launches — if the DPRK is serious about finding a diplomatic solution to the standoff.  If this is really a ”secret” visit, the exposure will embarrass Tokyo and create friction between Japan and the US.  However, it’s much more likely that Tokyo, Washington, Beijing, and Seoul coordinated this effort, given that the only country Pyongyang hates worse than the US is Japan.

Firing missiles of any kind during the visit, though, is clearly an act of humiliation. Iijima returned yesterday, and almost immediately North Korea did what it had wanted to do all along, which was to shoot off some missiles and look scary.  It may not quite be an “eff off,” but it’s pretty darned close in the world of diplomatic nuance.

Either the Kim regime is just toying with its opponents, or there is a very deep division within it.  It might be that those running the military want to stick with the hard line and shot the missiles off to undermine another faction wanting improved diplomatic relations with the world. If so, then the situation could get very dangerous.  It also could just be that the Kim regime likes to play games, even if no one can really figure out what possible value they have other than to just make themselves feel good.

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Too bad the missiles weren’t directed at IRS HQ in DC.

MaiDee on May 18, 2013 at 11:51 AM

Too bad the missiles weren’t directed at IRS HQ in DC.

MaiDee on May 18, 2013 at 11:51 AM

Why hurt their fellow Communists?

MelonCollie on May 18, 2013 at 12:05 PM

Washington has lost control of the narrative. Can you see it? See why?

Not a month ago we may as well have been on the brink of war for all the attention being given to the story, the focus on North Korea, and the supposedly escalating drama. Much like most countries find a way to focus on an outside enemy in order to distract.

Then came Boston. Too big a story for the media NOT to cover 24/7, shutting out everything else. THAT’s like a “nature” force in narrative control. ACTUAL events unfolding prevents the ability to insert yourself as the sole and main source of the story, information, and developments. And one happened. The people wanted to know what was going on and the media obliged them, ratings went through the roof and everyone was “happy”, situationally in the information stream.

Then it was over…

Remember North Korea??? That whole story just kinda disappeared, huh? Washington had not YET found a way to pivot attention back to it or forward to another “problem”.

And as if on a silver platter, the golden opportunity of fate, chance, and timing presented itself in the Benghazi investigations recent revalations. No one controlled the narrative again, yet. But that vacuum was quickly filled when the stars aligned for the timing of their release. The media NEEDED something. It RUNS on drama and conflict, on any side. That’s what the American people seem to want, because it’s what provides these outlets with the highest ratings and profits as a business choice. And they got it.

Then the IRS scandal broke.

The the AP reporter scandal broke.

Suddenly it seems that the might just as well not be a second term after all and that even while in office, the President is very close to being put into a box politically(Like a metaphorical box, folks. A sort of political isolation, NOT a coffin “box”. Just in case that disclaimer was necessary).

It may well be true. I told you all you would see this. Just watch out for the inevitable attempted pendulum swing back.

And watch, as the system slowly begins to work itself over again, as always, as those that you’ve backed or have come to support in the “opposition” begin to become exactly what you’ve been complaining about for 5 years, and those who have been defending themselves against your accusations become the “opposition” again and begin arguing for all the things you argue for now.

It’s beginning. Pay attention if you hope to learn anything. And be consistent. Or else you’ll find yourselves in no time defending everything you’ve come to decry.

Welcome to America, folks. Where in all that, actual “solutions” are never considered and denying the other side political victories is more important than doing anything that might actually do any damn good.

Freedom isn’t free after all.

Genuine on May 18, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Pew! Pew! Pew!

Blake on May 18, 2013 at 12:20 PM

The triple scandals have actually masked the fact that THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION HAS LOST TOTAL CONTROL INTERNATIONALLY. Israel is acting unilaterally. North Korea is an unrestrained petulant child. Iran is assembling atomic bombs. China is hacking us to death with cyber-attacks. The Russians have such contempt for us that they have embarrassingly dissed Secretary of State Kerry. The UN wants the US to disarm and Obama agrees.Illegal aliens entering the US include Chinese hackers and Muslim terrorists as well as Mexican criminals and drug addicts.

MaiDee on May 18, 2013 at 12:21 PM

Israel is acting unilaterally

And it’s about time too. I just wish our president had the sense and the guts to go along with them.

Othniel on May 18, 2013 at 12:30 PM

d1carter on May 18, 2013 at 12:19 PM

wow.

ORconservative on May 18, 2013 at 12:43 PM

OT: Who is Celia Roady? And why did IRS “plant” a question at the ABA presentation?

d1carter on May 18, 2013 at 12:19 PM

Lemmie guess…Professional Toady?

workingclass artist on May 18, 2013 at 12:44 PM

The triple scandals have actually masked the fact that THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION HAS LOST TOTAL CONTROL INTERNATIONALLY. Israel is acting unilaterally. North Korea is an unrestrained petulant child. Iran is assembling atomic bombs. China is hacking us to death with cyber-attacks. The Russians have such contempt for us that they have embarrassingly dissed Secretary of State Kerry. The UN wants the US to disarm and Obama agrees.Illegal aliens entering the US include Chinese hackers and Muslim terrorists as well as Mexican criminals and drug addicts.

MaiDee on May 18, 2013 at 12:21 PM

You forgot to add…

Ruskies buzzing Alaska Air Space & busting Agents wearing bad wigs.

workingclass artist on May 18, 2013 at 12:46 PM

So who pushed the “reset” button, Japan or the Norks?

connertown on May 18, 2013 at 12:47 PM

I thought Chubby had put all the missiles back in the garage? Or was that just the long range ones? The Won knew about all this right?

Cindy Munford on May 18, 2013 at 12:49 PM

I thought Chubby had put all the missiles back in the garage? Or was that just the long range ones? The Won knew about all this right?

Cindy Munford on May 18, 2013 at 12:49 PM

No, I’m pretty sure he just read it on HotGas like the rest of us.

preallocated on May 18, 2013 at 1:30 PM

I thought Chubby had put all the missiles back in the garage? Or was that just the long range ones? The Won knew about all this right?

Cindy Munford on May 18, 2013 at 12:49 PM

북한 감사 준비!!!

Prepare to be audited by North Korea!!!

workingclass artist on May 18, 2013 at 1:49 PM

Prepare to be audited by North Korea!!!

workingclass artist on May 18, 2013 at 1:49 PM

Apparently they will have to stand in line.

Cindy Munford on May 18, 2013 at 2:02 PM

So why do we see articles about NK but nothing about any thing else?

How about tension between India and China?

How about tensions between Taiwan and Philippines?

Aren’t those news worthy?

DFCtomm on May 18, 2013 at 7:30 PM