Today, the rhetoric is heating up as North Korea threatens to attack South Korean ships if they get too close.
Needless to say, it's been a bad week for the Korean peninsula.
Kim Jong Il's regime flaunted a test fire of a supposed nuclear bomb on Monday, and has tested several missiles since. It's a pyrotechnic display that no one finds entertaining.
But the question is: How will the U.S. and the U.N. punish North Korea? More sanctions? More invitations to six-party talks? We've all seen that movie before.
The Obama administration and its international partners face a daunting challenge. They have to make it clear that this behavior will not be tolerated while trying to cool the red-hot tempers in the Yellow Sea before a test fire escalates into the real thing.
That's a page from my notebook.