More troubling news with regard to North Korea
Gen. James Thurman, the top U.S. commander in South Korea, said that in his two years on the job he has never seen things as tense as they are right now, telling ABC News the situation on the Korean peninsula as "volatile" and "dangerous."
Thurman said in his exclusive interview with ABC News that his " job is to prevent war," but that his greatest fear is a "miscalculation" that causes "a kinetic provocation." In military parlance, kinetic refers to combat.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is calling North Korea's development of nuclear weapons a "growing threat" to the U.S. and its allies.
In a telephone call Tuesday evening to Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan, Hagel cited North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles and said Washington and Beijing should continue to cooperate on those problems.
North Korea closed access to a joint factory zone with South Korea on Wednesday, officials said, putting at risk $2 billion a year in trade that is vital for an impoverished state with a huge army, nuclear ambitions and a hungry population.
The move marked an escalation in North Korea's months-long standoff with South Korea and its ally Washington. On Tuesday, Pyongyang said it would restart a mothballed nuclear reactor, drawing criticism from the international community, including China, its major benefactor and diplomatic friend.
The diplomatic crisis on the Korean peninsula has deepened after North Korea barred South Korean workers from entering a jointly run industrial complex just north of the countries' border.
China, meanwhile, voiced "serious concern" about rising tensions in the region, a day after North Korea said it would resume operations to produce weapons-grade plutonium.
And, when you add all that up, the sum doesn't bode well for US/North Korean relations. South Korea can't be overjoyed at the saber-rattling.