You might think alarm bells would be sounding in Washington, given the warnings coming out of North Korea. But when they talk about North Korea, U.S. officials are sounding like exasperated parents responding to a child's tantrum.
At the White House on Friday, spokesman Jay Carney said the United States "would not be surprised" if North Korea actually carries out a missile test.
In this photo released in March by the North's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), leader Kim Jong Un is said to be using a pair of binoculars to look south during an inspection of army troops stationed on two islands.
It's hard to determine how seriously to take these threats. War on the Korean Peninsula could be catastrophic, so the bluster can't be dismissed. On the other hand, North Korea has a long history of hyperbole, of making threats it doesn't follow through on.
On Thursday, a South Korean security guard kept watch as South Korean trucks waited to enter the Kaesong industrial complex in North Korea. For the second day, the North blocked the trucks and workers from the South from entering its territory.
Credit Kim Hong-ji / Reuters /Landov
Bear in mind that, as NPR's Louisa Lim has said, North Korea's regime is skilled at making threats. And fortunately, the most ominous of those threats have not been followed by action in recent decades.
With those caveats in mind, here are Thursday's developments in the latest round of provocative moves by the communist state. From Beijing, Louisa tells our Newscast Desk that:
U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel speaks at the National Defense University at Ft. McNair in Washington, DC.
Credit Alex Wong / Getty Images
The United States said it was sending its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System to Guam in the coming weeks.
The move to deploy the missile defense system comes in response to continued heated rhetoric from North Korea. The BBC reports:
"The Pentagon said in a statement the missile system would be moved to Guam as a 'precautionary move to strengthen our regional defence posture against the North Korean regional ballistic missile threat.'