The recent emergence of Kim Jong Un as the designated successor to North Korean leader Kim Jong Il once again put the spotlight on the secretive communist nation.
But while everyone was focused on the succession, little was said about U.S. efforts to re-engage North Korea.
Many observers, especially in South Korea, had seen President Obama's inaugural speech as opening up the possibility of a new beginning with North Korea, but as usual on the peninsula, it turned out to be a lot more complex.
Some South Koreans Express Disappointment
When Obama was elected president in 2008, South Korea had just elected a new hawkish president after 10 years of a gentler "sunshine policy" toward North Korea. Many in South Korea listened to President Obama's inaugural speech about extending the American hand to those who would unclench their fist, and thought that it might herald a new U.S. approach to North Korea, after eight years under President Bush that yielded few results.