How provocative has the United States been to North Korea?
For almost two months, the United States and South Korea have had more than 200,000 ground troops, tanks, helicopters, fighter-bombers, strategic bombers, submarines and destroyers exercising close to the demilitarized zone (DMZ) and the disputed sector of the Yellow Sea on the border between the two Koreas.
...[T]ry, for a moment, to put yourself in the shoes of 30-year-old Kim. He succeeded his father in late December 2011 and for the past five months has been maneuvering to consolidate his authority over the Korean Workers’ Party and Korean People’s Army. Early on he replaced three older generals who had been close to his father and talked of getting closer to the people.
He appeared with his young wife, went to a theme park, and talked of solving the food shortage. He got the party last month to adopt a policy of economic development but balanced it with a plan to increase nuclear forces. Last November, he made Kim Kyok Sik defense minister, choosing a hard-line general who was accused of the shelling of a South Korean border island in 2010. He also chose a reformer, Pak Pong Ju, as prime minister to replace Vice Marshal Kim Jong Gak, a member of the military....