As North Korea mourns during Kim Jong-il's funeral, South Koreans are reminded of the dangers of their unstable and poor sibling nation.
North Korea has taken control of Mt. Kumgang, a jointly maintained tourist area in which South Korea's Hyundai Asan had invested more than $1.5 billion for a hotel, hot springs, shopping mall, and a road inside the North.
Without six-party talks, there will be no opportunity to dissuade North Korea from testing another nuclear device. The US is trying to keep the conversation open.
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.
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.
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 Korea sent 5,000 tons of aid to North Korea, a step away from recent confrontational rhetoric. But it's a tiny fraction of the 500,000 sent annually under the Sunshine Policy.
Jimmy Carter's North Korea trip this week may echo a successful meeting he had in Pyongyang 16 years ago. But can he secure the release of an American hostage as fellow former President Bill Clinton did last year?