North Korea reportedly deploys two missiles, Africa improves at democracy, and Spain’s royal family scrambles to save face. Today is Friday, April 5, and this is the World Wrap, brought to you by @dwbronner and @clarerrrr.
North Korean soldiers attend military drills in this picture released by the North’s official KCNA news agency in Pyongyang, March 20, 2013. REUTERS/KCNA
North Korean mid-range missiles may be launch-ready. South Korean media thinks the North has placed two intermediate-range rockets on mobile launchers. If fired from North Korea’s east coast, the missiles could reach Japan or U.S. Pacific bases. This latest display of force upset South Korea’s markets and could have a long-term financial impact:
“The market usually doesn’t get jittery over North Korea threats. But this time is different, because they look willing to sacrifice [joint industrial park] Kaesong, which has never happened before,” said Park Hyung-joon, macroeconomics team leader at Meritz Securities.
North Korea blocked access to Kaesong, the last vestige of its cooperation with the South, since Wednesday. The U.S. said on Thursday that it will send missile defenses to Guam to protect it from a possible strike. The reported missile move follows a weeks-long escalation of threats from the North, prompted by heightened U.N. sanctions and joint military drills between the U.S. and South Korea. Analysts disagree over whether the North’s threats are sincere or mere posturing.