Tensions on the Korean peninsula eased marginally today after South Korean officials backed off earlier reports that Pyongyang was getting ready for another missile test. A top official told reporters that he had misspoken when he said there was an "indication" that another test was imminent, and had been "startled" to learn that his remarks had been widely reported, the AP reports. Defense officials in Seoul say there has been activity around the North's nuclear test site, but nothing out of the ordinary.
A new nuclear test from the North would have raised tensions even higher after weeks of threats from Pyongyang, and Beijing appears to be becoming increasingly fed up with its neighbor's antics, Reuters reports. Leaders in China have said they will not tolerate any "chaos" or "trouble-making" over the border and Beijing wants to see a nuclear-free peace prevail, with all parties taking part in talks. Sens. Charles Schumer and John McCain sharply criticized China yesterday for not doing more to rein in its troublesome ally, the New York Times reports. "It’s about time they stepped up to the plate and put a little pressure on this North Korean regime," Schumer told Face the Nation. (Read more North Korea stories.)