Threats like this one:
A massive propaganda campaign by the South Korean military drew an ominous warning from North Korea on Sunday, with Pyongyang saying that it would fire across the border at anyone sending helium balloons carrying anti-North Korean messages into the country.But that was before the shelling of Yŏnpyŏng-do. Now I'm not so sure such warnings are as glib as we once thought, nor should we be as blasé as we once were.
A statement carried by the North’s official news agency said the balloon-and-leaflet campaign “by the puppet military in the frontline area is a treacherous deed and a wanton challenge” to peace on the Korean Peninsula. The statement, attributed to a North Korean military official, said further balloon sorties would be seen as offensive provocations that would result in “direct fire” by North Korean Army units.
Still, since then ROK President Lee Myungbak made it absolutely crystal clear that South Korean forces would get really mad the next time North Korea attacked South Korean soil, and there would be repercussions.
Yŏnpyŏng-do was a game-changer. All bets are off. My money is still on North Korea calculatedly pushing things just shy of an attack requiring a full-blown response, but who knows?
The Marmot's Hole has more on this threat, especially at a time of military exercises conducted by the US and ROK militaries.