North Korean attack on South Korea was the first such event on land since the Korean War. South Korean analysts appear puzzled over how best to respond to the North Korean attack.
Even though US envoy to North Korea Stephen Bosworth gave no hint of military escalation, he's gone to Seoul and Tokyo seeking support to deescalate North Korea's nuclear program.
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.
North Korea leader Kim Jong-il confirmed his readiness to rejoin six-party talks after a visit to China last week. But the US, Japan, and South Korea want to see key steps first.
UNITED STATES: The US was the world’s first country to develop the nuclear bomb, in the early 1940s, and is the only country to ever use it offensively, during World War II. The US has 2,700 deployed nukes, plus another 2,500 to 3,500 nukes on reserve, according to the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament. The US is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Here, the US Navy fires a Trident II, D-5 missile from the USS Tennessee, a submarine in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida in December 1989.
North Korea said Tuesday that it has reprocessed 8,000 nuclear fuel rods – perhaps enough to build another nuclear bomb. US officials say this was a violation of North Korea's commitments to nuclear disarmament talks.
North Korea's announcement that it had processed more nuclear weapons fuel for use in another atomic weapon is seen as an attempt to reinforce its demand that the US engage in bilaterial disarmament talks.
The US has long suspected that Pyongyang had this kind of nuclear program.
The North, which wants one-on-one talks with the US, said it's open to dialogue and had entered the "completion phase" of developing highly enriched uranium.
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.