On the campaign trail, President-elect Trump repeatedly challenged the status quo regarding key US allies, including NATO, Japan, and South Korea. But his actual intentions are unclear.
A North Korea-flagged ship interdicted in Panama three years ago gave a glimpse into Pyongyang’s efforts to build up its military and nuclear capacity. Intelligence from the ship transformed how UN member nations are policing North Korea.
Pyongyang is ramping up its nuclear and missile programs after a successful rocket launch Feb. 7. US officials warn that the North is trying to obtain weapons-grade fissionable material from a previously shuttered reactor.
North Korea often threatens to attack the US. The anniversary of the ruling party's founding on Oct. 10 could be used as a stage for a missile or nuclear test.
One benefit of the recent shelling that heightened tensions across the demilitarized zone are the highest level negotiations between Seoul and Pyongyang in many years.