"Some analysts believe that provocative acts by North Korea are closely linked to the leadership transfer underway inside the secretive country. Kim Jong-il – who is believed to be in poor health – is thought to be in the process of trying to hand over power to his designated successor, his son Kim Jong-un.
In September North Korea's ruling party held a rare congress in which the younger Kim was given key roles in the party and the Central Military Commission.
Analysts say incidents such as the sinking of the Cheonan warship in March and the recent artillery firing are unlikely to be rogue actions by the North Korean military. Rather they are aimed at bolstering Kim Jong-un's standing.
"It seems inevitable that it is related to North Korea's succession," said Mark Fitzpatrick of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. "(Kim Jong-un) has no accomplishments to his record. But if he can appear to be in charge of a military that is achieving some kind of military success, it would probably aid his succession."
Carlo Jean (Il Messaggero), Andrea Nativi (il Giornale), il New York Times.
Le analisi di Stephen Walt, Andrea Gilli e Stratfor. "Pyongyang's Survival Strategy", di Daniel Byman e Jennifer Lind (International Security).