Health concerns and angry protests have prompted partial bans on US beef imports in Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea – most recently by Taipei on Tuesday. The recurring dispute has strained relations.
North Korea told China's visiting Prime Minister Wen Jiabao it will return to six-party talks it abandoned in April. But first, it wants bilateral talks with the US.
For the first time, the rogue state has admitted to having a uranium-enrichment program. It also threatened to respond militarily to any attempts to stop any of its ships suspected of carrying nuclear components.
South Korea joined a US-led program to block shipments of nuclear material. In Japan, a lawmaker urged first-strike capability.
Monday's explosion – the latest in a series of hard-line moves by Pyongyang – may have been 20 times more powerful than its last test in 2006.
N. Korea's missile launch Sunday complicates the long-term strategy of the US and her Asian allies toward Pyongyang's nuclear program.
In South Korea, which she visited Thursday, fears persist that the US will move forward on ties even if the North resists verifying disablement of its weapons.
The North claimed to have weaponized plutonium and said its nuclear status would not change. But analysts see bid for attention.
As Beijing talks stall, analysts say North Korea may be waiting for a gesture from Barack Obama once he assumes the presidency.