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South Koreans on guard duty at the Demilitarized Zone on the border with North Korea. Photo by Larisa Epatko

North Korea Ramps Up Rhetoric, Missile Systems

Each day this week brought another development in North Korea, including threats against the United States and the deployment of mid-range missile launchers to its east coast.

The reclusive communist country reportedly warned foreign embassies inside its borders Friday that it could not guarantee the safety of their staff after April 10.

North Korea is protesting the “hostile” joint military exercises involving the United States and South Korea, and U.N. sanctions imposed over its nuclear weapons tests.

The escalating threats have put South Koreans on edge and prompted the United States to send a land-based missile defense system to Guam.

In the past, North Korea has engaged in cycles of rhetoric followed by a return to normalcy, but this time feels “slightly more dangerous because you have a compounding of events that have taken place since December with the launch of a successful missile by North Korea, their nuclear test in February, (and) the U.N. Security Council’s sanctions,” said Jack Pritchard, former U.S. special envoy for negotiations with North Korea, on Wednesday’s NewsHour:

Related resources:

Browse a series of NewsHour reports from South Korea in January 2011 following North Korea’s show of force, including the sinking of South Korea’s ship the Cheonan and the bombing of Yeonpyeong Island.

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