By Gabriella Schwarz
President Barack Obama and South Korean President Park Geun-hye said Tuesday nuclear aggression from North Korea has further isolated the region and vowed to use all means to deter further provocations.
"If Pyongyang thought its recent threats would drive a wedge between South Korea and the United States or somehow garner the North international respect, today is further evidence that North Korea has failed again," Obama said during a joint press conference with the two leaders. "The United States and the Republic of Korea are as united as ever ... North Korea is more isolated than ever."
Obama said North Korea's manufactured crises will no long elicit concessions and committed to protecting the United States and its allies.
"The United States is fully prepared and capable of defending ourselves and our allies with the full range of capabilities available, including the deterrence provided by our conventional and nuclear forces," Obama said. "The commitment of the United States to the security of the Republic of Korea will never waver."
President Park, South Korea's first female president, said she will "by no means tolerate North Korea's threats and provocations, which have recently been escalating further."FULL STORY
By Pam Benson and Chris Lawrence
Despite the uproar over a disclosure this week of Pentagon intelligence concluding North Korea may be able to deliver a nuclear weapon on a ballistic missile, it's not the first time the Defense Intelligence Agency has suggested Pyongyang had that capability.
Since 2005, two former DIA chiefs have raised the possibility during congressional testimony.
At a Senate Armed Service Committee hearing in April 2005, then-DIA director Vice Admiral Lowell Jacoby acknowledged the possibility in response to a question about whether North Korea had the capability to put a nuclear device on a missile.
"The assessment is that they have the capability to do that," Jacoby said.
By Jake Tapper and Jennifer Rizzo
Imagine the North Korean regime has toppled, either because the U.S. or South Korea take it out, or because of a coup, and the U.S. has to surge troops to secure the country's nuclear stockpiles to make sure they do not fall into the wrong hands.
The frightening scenario was played out at the U.S. Army War College recently, and it did not end well. The military sets the scene in the fictitious land of "North Brownland," essentially an alias for North Korea.
From missiles to methamphetamine, there is an intriguing list of items the North Korean government sells in order to stay afloat. CNN's Chris Lawrence takes a look at the money trail.
Who really runs North Korea? Trading companies and the aunt and uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un are part of the power structure behind the North Korean throne. Chris Lawrence reports.
In North Korea Friday, CNN’s told, two medium-range missiles are in their launchers, loaded and ready to go.
The White House says it won’t be surprised if Kim Jong Un orders those missiles to be fired as a test of his military power.
The communist leader is sending all sorts of signals about his next move and when it might happen, including an ominous new warning to foreign diplomats.
To give us the global view on this unfolding story, our Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr.
U.S. troops stationed in South Korea, less than 20 miles from the border with North Korea, bases in Japan and Guam are all targets for North Korea's missiles. Chris Lawrence reports on how and where North Korea would strike U.S. troops.
From Pam Benson
A former senior US official, who recently retired, says North Korea is a difficult target for the intelligence community but "the coverage is very extensive using national technical means: imagery, intercepts and other means." The official said, "It's hard to get in there, but we do have external capabilities. Looking, listening and watching are all in play."
Moving a missile to the east coast is "very discernible", the official said, even on mobile launchers. The mobile launchers are more difficult–one or two might get through, the official said, but North Korea has limited routes to take whether by rail or road. "It's not a large country with an intricate transportation system."
What is difficult to ascertain is its uranium enrichment program. It could be buried in underground facilities where there are no air samples, nothing to collect.
There are other shortfalls for gathering intelligence on North Korea, in particular a lack of human intelligence, the official said. "We don't have physical access, minimal, if at all," the official said.
By Elise Labott
Kim Jong Un’s latest threats against the United States may be even more apocalyptic than Kim Jong Il’s. But the Obama administration still believes the young North Korean leader is reading from a page in his father’s playbook.
One senior administration official described the tried-and-true play as something like this: “Talk tough and scare people. Follow that with some kind of provocation. Then at some point of your choosing, step back, put your weapons down and say, ‘Well, we won that round. What are you going to do for us?’ It’s the classic North Korea provocation-extortion cycle.”
U.S. officials can’t guarantee the North Koreans will play it this way now. They do fully expect some type of tactical action from the North in the form of anything from a nuclear test to a computer hacking to a shelling of South Korea. But they point to natural biorhythms in North Korea that suggest the regime cannot sustain the current tempo. With the spring planting season approaching in a few weeks, North Korean soldiers will have to return to their fields and the regime will be forced to choose between target practice on paper maps of the United States and feeding their people.
“The operating assumption is that we don’t think he is going to stay too far from this pattern,” the official said of the new North Korean leader. “There may be lower lows and sharper threats that come thick and faster now, but a lot is driven by the North’s own internal requirements. At some point, this will end because they need help. And we expect to be finding ourselves hearing the North Korea sweet sounds asking for economic help. If we can get there without real bloodshed, this is not overly concerning.”
By Stephan Haggard, Special to CNN
Editor's note: Stephan Haggard is professor at the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at the University of California, San Diego. He is the co-author of "Famine in North Korea" (2008) and "Witness to Transformation: Refugee Insights into North Korea" (2011) and co-editor with Marcus Noland of a blog about North Korea.
(CNN) - March brought us a series of what pundits like to call "provocations" by North Korea. On closer inspection, Pyongyang has opted for rhetoric over actual military actions.
While Kim Jong Un's pursuit of nuclear and missile capability remains worrisome, escalating signals of resolve could suggest nervousness as much as strength.
So, is the regime in trouble?
Read the full take on CNN's OPINION page.