It does seem that North Korea is spoiling for a fight. It sank a South Korean navy ship earlier in the year and this week fired over 200 artillery shells onto the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong, killing four people.
Where it all gets a bit tense is that North Korea is an ally of China and South Korea an ally of the United States. Throw in the fact that North Korea has nuclear weapons and it has the potential to be highly dangerous.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's health has deteriorated rapidly after his recent strokes and the thinking is that this is the handiwork of his son and successor, Kim Jong Un, who is keen to show his southern neighbours and US protectors that he will not be an easy touch when it comes to the negotiating table.
China is aware that if military action is taken against North Korea, it faces an influx of millions of refugees crossing over its borders so it holds back from outright condemnation of North Korea's attack, only urging both sides to 'retain calm and restraint and engage in talks as quickly as possible in order to prevent similar incidents from happening again'.
The White House said that 'We stand shoulder to shoulder with our ally in South Korea and we're fully committed to their defense.' America, has now sent US aircraft carrier the USS George Washington to the Korean peninsula for four days of naval exercises with the South Korean Navy which North Korea has warned will drive the peninsula 'closer to the brink of war'.
All very tense and reminiscent of the sort of dances that took place with the US and Soviets during the Cold War, but with so many potential flash points that we can only hope that the Chinese can rein in their hot-headed ally. As a wannabe super-power, it has to take on a greater share of the responsibility and as America has found out, if you don't choose your friends carefully, you can bring down a whole load of trouble on your own head.