North Korea on Thursday freed a South Korean worker it had detained since March, an apparently conciliatory gesture to the South following 18 months of bitter hostility.
The US chief of naval operations on Monday denounced North Korea's weekend ballistic missile launches and vowed to keep tracking its ships if they are suspected of carrying banned weapons.
South Korea's top court on Thursday authorised doctors to halt life-sustaining treatment for a comatose woman, approving a request for euthanasia for the first time in the country.
International efforts to put an end to N Korea's nuclear programme appeared to hit a snag after Pyongyang defiantly insisted it had lived up to its end of a six-party disarmament deal.
North and South Korea have agrees to start regular rail freight services across their heavily fortified border next month for the first time in more than half a century.
More women than ever before are expected to win seats in polls elections as voters tire of S Korea's male-dominated political order.