Over the past few months, North Korea has been stepping up its pattern of aggressive rhetoric and actions against South Korea and the United States, including verbal threats of missile attacks against both countries and against U.S. forces in the Pacific. This past weekend, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to Beijing to seek China’s help in dealing with North Korea and its new leader, Kim Jong-Un, and reassured leaders in Seoul that the United States remains committed to its defense. As the world waits to see how serious a threat North Korea truly is, we take a look at some key facts about this enigmatic «hermit kingdom» and its history, as well as some of the factors and events that led to the current situation.