US basketball star Dennis Rodman recently hung out with North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un - now he's tweeted a request that the American sentenced to 15 years' hard labor be released.
Many Korea watchers speculated that once joint military drills ended, so would increased tensions with North Korea. But at least one analyst says this might be the moment the North lashes out again.
The last tangible thread of cooperation between Pyongyang and Seoul was cut today, with South Korea announcing it would pull the remaining workers from a sprawling factory complex in the North.
Some say that while Pyongyang's preconditions are unrealistic, its statement provides a noteworthy change in recent tone.
The only declassified sentence in a Defense Intelligence report raised concern that North Korea might have the ability to miniaturize its nuclear weapons. Other defense agencies disagree.
While neither Beijing nor Washington want to see North Korea's belligerence explode into actual conflict, Beijing is not willing to push Pyongyang too hard for fear of toppling the regime.
Despite a series of increasingly dire North Korean prophecies, international reaction has been largely calm. Many suspect the North's threats are Kim Jong-un's way of proving himself.
North Korea's decision to pull its workers from Kaesong industrial park coincides with speculation that it could carry out a missile test.
The US is responding to North Korea's bombast as if Pyongyang is capable of making good on its recent threats. Tensions have risen against the backdrop of annual US-South Korean military drills.
Kim Jong-un announced that North Korea will restart its nuclear facility, making the country's nuclear program a source of deep concern for the international community.
After weeks of belligerent talk, North Korea espoused a 'new strategic line,' saying its struggling economy as well as its military strength is a top priority.