Sharpening its rhetoric, North Korea is trumpeting its refusal to honor accords designed to keep the peace with South Korea — particularly along a disputed maritime border that has long been a flashpoint.
But the real focus of North Korea’s warning Friday may well be Washington. The White House is still reviewing US policy on North Korea — one item on a long list of foreign and domestic issues clamoring for Barack Obama’s attention.
An impatient Pyongyang seems to be trying to move itself to the top of Washington’s foreign policy agenda by warning that the two Koreas are at the brink of war because of the hard-line stance of South Korea’s pro-US president.
Kim Jong Il, a leader with a flair for drama, knows the value of a naval skirmish or a well-timed missile test to remind the world that his country may be poor but still has the power to cause trouble if it doesn’t get its way.