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Friday, September 19

Well, the good news is that North Korea's international film festival has opened

Reuters (Sept 19) - Communist North Korea rolled out its version of the red carpet this week when the reclusive state opened its biannual international film festival, allowing its masses to watch forbidden foreign films.

Movies are near to the heart of leader Kim Jong-il, a fan of Daffy Duck, Steven Spielberg and Elizabeth Taylor [...]
The bad news is that Pyongyang has told Washington to go sit on a tack. It seems they're claming that because the U.S. failed to remove NK from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, this is a breach of the nuke disarmament deal hammered out during the six-party talks.

However, it's a little difficult to follow because they're also thumbing their nose at the list, saying they don't care about the list, it's fine with them if they stay on the list. etc.

The part that's clear is that Pyongyang has announced today that they're preparing to restart the partially dismantled Yongbyon nuclear reactor once they get it put back together.

In short, the six-nation agreement is in the trash at this moment.

No official response yet from other parties to the talks. So basically everyone's working the tea leaves right now. And trying to recall the "Get Well" cards. Pyongyang officials are expressing fury about what they term evil rumors that Kimmy is indisposed.

According to a VOA report today:
South Korean officials said earlier this month that Mr. Kim underwent brain surgery after suffering a stroke. The 66-year-old leader's health has been the focus of global concern after he failed to show up at a national celebration marking the country's 60th anniversary.
The report also carries this eyebrow raiser:
In a separate development , an expert on Pyongyang's missile program says North Korea appears to be able to test its missiles under more realistic conditions than before. Joseph Bermudez's comments to VOA on Thursday follow South Korean media reports that North Korea has been testing the engine for its longest-range missiles.

Bermudez reported last week in Jane's Defence Weekly about a new North Korean missile test and launch site, which he called Pyongyang's "most advanced to date." He said the launch facility appears to be about one or two years from completion.

The long-range missile is theoretically capable of hitting the United States, but it failed less than a minute after launch during a test in 2006. It is not known if the missile is capable of carrying a nuclear weapon of the size that North Korea is able to produce.
So now we wait for the official responses. I am particularly interested in learning what Moscow has to say.
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