North Korea sees South Korea's plans to conduct a live-fire artillery drill this weekend as "needlessly provocative," but the US insists it is normal and necessary.
The US was hoping that China, the only country with diplomatic influence over North Korea, would rebuke the country for shelling South Korea last month. But China appears intent on maintaining support for Kim Jong Il.
In a phone call Monday, President Obama asked Chinese President Hu Jintao to put pressure on North Korea, even as US held military drills with South Korea.
North Korea kept up its harsh rhetoric Friday, indicating that it saw upcoming military exercises as fresh provocation. US Gen. Walter Sharp toured the island area attacked by the North on Tuesday.
North Korea shelled South Korea's Yeonpyeong island Tuesday, killing two South Korean marines and injuring more than a dozen people. South Korea returned fire. Both sides claimed that the other fired first. While the South has engaged in past attacks – notably in November 2009, when it fired on a North Korean patrol boat, and in June 1999, when it sunk a North Korean vessel – history shows that Pyongyang is often the instigator. A 2007 report from the US Congressional Research Service documents dozens of provocations, ranging from low-level naval warfare to assassinations of South Korean cabinet officers. Here are seven examples of the North's military provocations over the past decade.