Crossfire War – MOSCOW WATCH – Global Theatre: Moscow – Tokyo/Beijing – Pyongyang; Moscow Says Pyongyang Launched 10 Missiles – All May Have Been Intercontinental – Threat to Pacific Shipping – Summons NK Ambassador
Night Watch: MOSCOW – “According to some information North Korea launched 10 missiles of different classes.” That is the quote from Russia’s leading military officer and Chief of the General Staff General Yuri Balyuevsky. He added that Russia is still processing data on the quality and characteristics of each missile. Gen. Balyuevsky also mentioned it is possible that all of the missiles were inter-continental and that he will know more when he receives the technical control data. [RIA]
On the diplomatic front Moscow summoned Pyongyang Ambassador Pak Ui Chun [RIA] who said he was satisfied with the meeting at the Foreign Ministry with Russia Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Alekseyev. The two are familar with each other since Alekseyev has been Moscow’s representative to the long running pretense Six Way Talks, staged by Beijing, on North Korea’s missile-nuclear program. Chun promised to “swiftly inform Pyongyang of Russia’s position.” Moscow’s position being that the missile firings violated a moratorium on launchings Pyongyang said it would honor and that the tests were a threat to Pacific shipping. There was no warning to maritme services. Every missile landed in the Sea of Japan, none closer than 300 miles from Japan’s coast, but inside the country’s exclusion zone. Chun said they had a friendly discussion.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry also met with Japan Ambassador Issei Nomura who of course expressed his country’s grave concern over the violation and provocation. If any missile had hit Japan war would now be underway. Tokyo would have no choice but to respond accordingly. The war would last less than a year. A few years ago the Wall Street Journal interviewed a high-level North Korean defector Hwang Jang-Yop, who had long been an advisor to Pyongyang’s leadership, including Kim Jong-IL. He said North Korea’s military had not been well maintained, a lot of the troops were demoralized and that he still had a lot of contacts there.
These news files that are shown on television of the apparently impressive and powerful North Korean military are an illusion. I have no idea how old those news clips are and fancy uniforms does not mean you have reliable equipment in the field. Nor is it any guarantee of absolute, unquestionable devotion to the government. Pyongyang’s power and threat is what they can export to Tehran and with Beijing’s complete support.
Liu Guchang, the Ambassador from China, was also met with. Russia Deputy Foreign Minister Alekseyev said afterwards the Ambassador “was informed of our position on the issue and Russia’s readiness to closely coordinate its actions with all partners, including China to regulate the situation.” Moscow of course is aware that Beijing fully supports Pyongyang’s missile testing and exports to Iran in order to increase Iran’s ability to damage the West-Russia-India, three of China’s rivals. Moscow also knows that though they may not have much direct influence on Pyongyang’s decision making, since they are not involved in much of North Korea’s economy, but Moscow does have substantial influence in China’s economy and more importantly with China’s military, which they have maintained by exporting some of the latest equipment and technology to them.
Therefore Moscow can influence Pyongyang through Beijing by severely reducing Russia’s involvement with China’s economic growth and miltary development, both of which are major priorities and concerns for China’s voracious industry. Deputy Foreign Minister Alekseyev may have already informed Beijing Ambassador Guchang that, as a result of Beijing’s unwillingness to prevent Pyongyang’s missile testing, Russia is seriously considering reduced involvement that will curtail the economic investments Russia has in China and the reduction of military equipment and technology Russia had agreed to ship to China’s military. This is what Moscow could mean by “regulating the situation.”
I suspect these are Pyongyang’s last missile tests. Beijing-Pyongyang-Tehran may have known that this would be the international response, especially from Moscow. That may have been why Pyongyang launched 10 and with all of them being inter-continental. Tehran knew the testing would not go on forever and with their timetable for (f)allout war they needed to see as many results as quickly as possible. Tehran already possesses a lot of short- medium range missiles and would have no need for further testing of those.