William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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OH THOSE NASTY BOYS AGAIN – AT 10:10 A.M. ET:  I do hope this doesn't inconvenience the president, who is involved in deep thoughts about what to say at his inauguration this weekend.  But the North Koreans are acting up again.

You know the North Koreans, don't you?  They're those chaps who can't feed their own people, yet build nuclear weapons and ICBMs, and sell hot parts to the Iranians.  And they're the chaps who are never punished.  Now they're talking tough again, and we'd better listen.  From Fox:

PYONGYANG, North Korea – North Korea vowed Monday to strengthen its defenses amid concerns the country may conduct a nuclear test as a follow-up to last month's long-range rocket launch.

Citing U.S. hostility, Pyongyang's Foreign Ministry said in a memorandum that North Korea will "continue to strengthen its deterrence against all forms of war."

The memorandum carried by state media did not say what action North Korea would take to defend itself. However, North Korea has claimed the right to build atomic weapons to protect itself from the United States, which stations more than 28,000 troops in South Korea.

North Korea sent a satellite into space on Dec. 12 aboard a long-range rocket, a launch that the U.S. and its allies have criticized as a test of banned ballistic missile technology.

In 2006 and 2009, Pyongyang conducted atomic tests after being slapped with U.N. Security Council condemnation and sanctions for similar launches of long-range rockets.

Please note how effective the condemnation and sanctions have been.  No one notices that they're even there.

North Korea's Foreign Ministry urged the Washington to dismantle the U.S.-led U.N. Command, which oversees an armistice signed at the close of the Korean War in 1953. It accused the U.S. of trying to turn the U.N. Command into a NATO-like regional military bloc.

"Whether the U.S. immediately dismantles the U.N. Command or not will serve as the acid stone in deciding whether the U.S. will maintain or not its anti-(North Korea) hostile policy," said the memorandum, which was carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.

COMMENT:  North Korea is an exceptionally dangerous country, a rogue state that threatens our allies, South Korea and Japan, and a major exporter of military technology.  The North Koreans have gone virtually unchecked, and I see no prospect that a President Obama or a Secretary of State Kerry will change that situation.

January 14, 2013