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.
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.
By Jethro Mullen, CNN
The United States said Thursday it sent stealth bombers to South Korea to participate in annual military exercises amid spiking tensions with North Korea.
The B-2 Spirit bombers flew more than 6,500 miles from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri to South Korea, dropping inert munitions there as part of the exercises, before returning to the U.S. mainland, the U.S Forces in Korea said in a statement.
The mission by the planes, which can carry both conventional and nuclear weapons, "demonstrates the United States' ability to conduct long range, precision strikes quickly and at will," the statement said.
The U.S. military's announcement earlier this month that it was flying B-52 bombers over South Korea to participate in the routine exercises prompted an angry reaction from the North, which has unleashed a torrent of threats in the past few weeks.FULL STORY
By K.J. Kwon and Jethro Mullen, CNN
The Obama administration on Wednesday slammed North Korea's pugnacious rants toward South Korea and the West and a U.S. intelligence official called the strident remarks worrisome.
"The ratcheting up of rhetoric is of concern to us," the official said.
The question is whether this is "just rhetoric," he said. Or, "are things happening behind the scenes indicating the blustering has something to it."
Another U.S. official said there is a lot of uncertainty about North Korea's intentions.
A defiant North Korea is threatening both the United States and South Korea in response to the United Nations decision to invoke additional sanctions on Pyongyang for it's rocket launch late last year.
Calling the U.S. a sworn enemy of North Korea, the government of Kim Jong Un vowed to launch more missiles and conduct a nuclear test.
Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr looks into how dangerous the North's nuclear capability really is.
By Jennifer Rizzo
While new satellite images show preparations for what is believed to be a coming long-range missile launch by North Korea, a second attempt in 2012 would be unprecedented, a top satellite image analyst told Security Clearance.
There have been four launches of this scale since 1998, including a failed attempt in April of this year. A second launch in 2012 would be the first time North Korea has launched two systems of this class, their largest missile class, in less than three years.
"The fact that they are now apparently preparing for a second launch in 2012 indicated that the decision to do this was made at the highest level," said DigitalGlobe analyst Joe Bermudez.
The North Koreans are looking for "maximum political impact" domestically, regionally and internationally with a test launch such as this, according to Bermudez, calling it a "very politically motivated event."
The timing of a launch at the end of this year would coincide with many consequential events, said Bermudez.
South Korea will be launching a rocket into space by the end of this week. North Korea and Japan will be holding another set of bilateral talks early in December and the South Korean presidential election will take place in less than a month. North Korea watchers say new leader Kim Jung Un may be responding to internal political pressure from hard-liners to send a message.
By Paula Hancocks
South Korea said Tuesday that it will halt all Iranian oil imports from the start of July in response to a European Union insurance ban on tankers carrying crude from Iran.
The EU and United States have been widening sanctions against Iran recently to put pressure on Tehran to curtail its nuclear program.
Western powers say they believe the program is intended to build nuclear weapons, but Iran insists it is for peaceful purposes.
South Korea is the first major consumer of Iranian oil in Asia to suspend all imports. Iran's other big oil customers in the region are Japan, China and India - none of which have announced plans to stop receiving shipments.
By Larry Shaughnessy
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta leaves Wednesday on a nine-day trip to Asia to bring allies there up to speed on the United States' new Pacific-orientated defense strategy.
"Basically the core of what we are trying to do with the swing through Asia, is to give a comprehensive account to partners and everyone in the region about what the rebalance to the Asia/Pacific will mean in practice," a senior defense official said while briefing reporters about the trip.
The trip starts in Honolulu where Panetta will meet with Adm. Sam Locklear, head of U.S. Pacific Command, who will join Panetta for much of the trip.
By Jamie Crawford
As an agreement for the United States to resume food aid to North Korea lies in tatters over the North's upcoming launch of a long-range rocket, there is a palpable sense of apprehension and anger over the launch in the reclusive regime's own backyard.
From South Korea to Japan and China, the Philippines, Russia and Australia, a varying chorus of anger and disappointment is being directed toward the Stalinist state in advance of the launch, expected later this month. The question now is what happens after the rocket leaves the launching pad.