Not since the Korean War ended in 1953 has the exchange of words and flexing of military might grown as dire in the Korean peninsula. A North Korean official said this week that his country's troops "are making preparations to begin a holy war" including nuclear weapons. That comment came in response to a massive military display carried out by South Korea, its third show of force this week. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak responded to the North's threat: "We had believed patience would ensure peace on this land, but that was not the case." Making matters worse, the political situation in North Korea remains unstable during the transition of power from Kim Jong-il to his son Kim Jong-un. The brewing storm in Korea will likely be a primary topic of conversation when President Barack Obama meets with his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao in Washington in January.