Adding to the already tense and riskoffish environment heading into Monday, is the news from Reuters that North Korea's parliament will hold a "rare second annual session on Monday." While the reason for the extra session is unknown, "analysts said the North could use the extra session of the Supreme People's Assembly to make a major announcement on personnel changes or power succession, or to issue a hardline response to sanctions imposed by the South over the ship sinking." With China still pending in its firm response toward the recent North Korean provocation, will this be the enablement signal that allows Pyongyang to test just how much further it can push the international community? The quandary of dealing with Korea was best recapped by Robert Gates, who was earlier quoted by Yonhap: "As long as the regime doesn't care about what the outside world thinks of it, as long as it doesn't care about the well-being of its people, there is not a lot you can do about it, to be quite frank, unless you are willing at some point to use military force. And nobody wants to do that." The main problem with Gates' argument is that in attempting to explain the behaviour of an irrational actor he assumes North Korea will come to the rational conclusion. The world may know within 24 hours if he is in fact wrong.
More from Reuters:
Analysts said the North could use the extra session of the Supreme People's Assembly to make a major announcement on personnel changes or power succession, or to issue a hardline response to sanctions imposed by the South over the ship sinking.
Many analysts say neither side is ready to go to war but also see the possibility of more skirmishes at their disputed sea border off the west coast or along the heavily armed DMZ land buffer that could flare up into a major fight.
Some analysts said the parliamentary session could also mark the 10th anniversary of a summit between the two Koreas by formally overturning pledges of reconciliation made then.
North Korea has called Seoul's move to refer it to the Security Council an "unforgivable act of grave provocation."
The Supreme People's Assembly is the North's rubberstamp parliament, and approves new laws, personnel changes and economic policy initiatives as a formality after they have been formulated by the leadership.
Keep a close eye on the Kospi as the night progresses.