China called today for an emergency meeting of the countries involved in past nuclear talks with North Korea, as tensions in the region continue to rise with the start of joint United States–South Korean naval exercises in the Yellow Sea, meant to send a warning to North Korea after the country fired artillery shells at South Korea last week. It's still unclear if China just wants to sit down and discuss the ol' topic of North Korea's nuclear program, or if it's inviting the countries involved in those talks — itself, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Russia, and the U.S — to discuss the North's recent provocations.
Meanwhile, in response to the commenced joint naval exercises, North Korea has deployed missiles close to the Yellow Sea, aimed at any aircraft that might cross the maritime border dividing the two Koreas, warning that it will launch "a merciless shower of fire" if its territory is violated. North Korea, according to some reports, is also blaming the U.S. for the escalated tensions. A North Korean official, according to a commentary in the official Korean Central News Agency, said: "No sooner had the Yeonpyeong incident occurred than the U.S. announced that it would stage joint naval exercises, as if it had been waiting for it to happen."