South Korea says the buildup of special forces represents a shift in North Korea’s emphasis from all-out war to military provocation.
South Korea's statement that it intends this year to begin preparations to reunify the Koreas will likely irk China and the North, which could consider it a provocation.
Monitor staff writers and correspondents in each of the world's regions share what they expect to be top headlines in 2011.
North Korea appears poised to display its nuclear weapons capability with an underground test, say experts, in a bid to keep military tensions high and force a return to talks.
South Koreans erected a huge Christmas tree that can reportedly be seen from the North's side of the demilitarized zone. But a sense of brotherhood has been sharply strained by the North's recent attack.
North Korea had threatened a harsh response if South Korea went ahead with military exercises in disputed waters Monday. But it could still take action, experts say.
Changes to Japan's defense guidelines include shift in focus from northern islands, a cold war concern, to islands in the south, claimed by both Japan and China.
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.
South Korea announced that it is boosting funds related to initiatives with China. The move comes after North Korea's attack on an island last month.
North Korea is seen as an unpredictable 'spoiled child.' Iran is seen as a rational but aggressive nation. Each have nuclear programs, but pose unique problems for US security.