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By Ted Cruz
Israel saves its enemies; Hamas endangers its friends
Topic - Victor Cha
The Obama administration sharply criticized Pyongyang Monday just hours after North Korean forces fired hundreds of live artillery shells across its disputed maritime border with South Korea, provoking a tit-for-tat response from its southern neighbor.
The Korean Peninsula is fraught with tension as its new leaders engage in a battle of words and will — with the North on Monday voiding the cease-fire that halted the Korean War in 1953 and the South placing its troops on high alert.
South Koreans on Wednesday elected their first female president — Park Geun-hye, leader of the conservative New Frontier Party — in a close election with results that are likely to please U.S. officials, analysts said.
Defying international concerns, North Korea fired a long-range rocket early Friday that splintered into pieces over the Yellow Sea about a minute after takeoff in an apparent failure, South Korean and U.S. officials said.
U.S. officials treaded carefully Monday in responding to Kim Jong-il's death amid concerns that the North Korean dictator's demise could trigger a succession struggle that would deepen uncertainty over the communist nation's nuclear arsenal.
"If you asked experts what could happen to bring the regime down, it would be the sudden death of Kim Jong-il. That has happened now," said Victor Cha, a former U.S. National Security Council director for Asian affairs under President George W. Bush and now a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, an American think tank. "We're potentially at a watershed moment for the region."
"For the United States, up until today, the North Korea problem was a denuclearization problem," said Victor Cha, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "Now it is potentially a loose-nukes problem."