Kim Jong-il’s different birthday celebrations in North and South Korea dramatize current tensions. For the first time the South's President Lee openly supported groups lofting balloons northward with leaflets bearing insulting messages.
After walking out of a meeting meant as a preliminary step toward six-party nuclear talks, some worry North Korea may stage another nuclear test. Its first test came during a break in six-party talks in 2006.
South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak said Tuesday he has 'high hopes for a change in attitude' from North Korea and implied that South Korea might consider significant aid for the North’s dilapidated economy.
Five Somali pirates flown Sunday to South Korea are blaming the hijacking of the Samho Jewelry tanker on eight other pirates who were killed when South Korean navy seals rescued the vessel and its 21 crew members on Jan. 21.
Delivering what analysts saw as a thinly veiled warning to North Korea, South Korea President Lee Myung-bak praised his commandos' stunning rescue today of a freighter seized by Somali pirates.
South Korean commandos rescued a 21-man crew from Somali pirates. The renegade gangs captured more hostages in 2010 than in any other year on record, and 22 incidents have already taken place in 2011.
The timing is widely interpreted in South Korea as a dividend of Chinese pressure to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula – and the meeting this week between President Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates was in Seoul Friday for a meeting with South Korean President Lee, who stressed the need for US cooperation to solve the North Korean nuclear issue.
An Indian boy holds up his national flag before his team's AFC Asian Cup Group C soccer match against Australia at Al Saad Stadium, in Doha, Qatar.
As Kim Jong-il's struggles to hold onto a crumbling North Korea, the US and South Korea can expect more calculated provocations – even displays of nuclear power. But rather than appease Kim with diplomatic concessions, now is the time to exploit those weaknesses with smart sanctions.