Pyongyang has cut the last military hotline to the South and says it's ready to target US bases in Hawaii, Guam, and South Korea. So why is there no sign the North is really girding for war?
Joint US-South Korea military drills yesterday prompted harsh language from North Korea's leader himself today.
US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel recently announced plans to cancel a planned US missile defense network in Europe, and instead beef up its interceptors in the Pacific.
What happens now?
Computer networks at major South Korean banks and top TV broadcasters crashed en masse Wednesday, paralyzing bank machines across the country. Immediate suspicion fell on North Korea.
China criticizes US plans to bolster missile defenses in response to provocations by North Korea, saying they would only intensify antagonism.
Skepticism about the effect of the North's dismissal of a cease-fire is grounded in past experience.
This follows threats from Pyongyang last week both to end the armistice and to 'exercise the right to a preemptive nuclear attack.'
The real test will be in China's follow-through on 'little brother' North Korea.
The UN Security Council is expected today to approve a new round of sanctions against Pyongyang in response to its nuclear weapon test last month.
North Korea's military is vowing to cancel the 1953 cease-fire that effectively ended the Korean War, straining frayed ties in the region as the UN moves to impose new sanctions.
Speculation over the possibility of North Korea's first couple having a child hit a high point in January, when South Korean media closely analyzed photos of Ri.
Making real sanctions bite would threaten the North Korean regime's stability, and an imploding North Korea could mean refugees flooding across the border, say Chinese scholars.
In a historic moment of coincidence, new leaders are taking the helm in China, Japan, and South Korea, providing an unprecedented moment for the region to refresh relations.
The fact that North Korea is getting to host well-known personalities from abroad is a PR plus for the regime, say analysts.