U.S. officials concerned over North Korea’s ‘ratcheting up of rhetoric’

Updated 8:53 AM EDT, Thu March 28, 2013

Story highlights

NEW: South Korean workers enter industrial complex despite severing of hotline

NEW: The North clears them to cross the border through another line, Yonhap says

U.S. intelligence official expresses concern about "ratcheting up of rhetoric"

The announcement follows a slew of recent threats from North Korea

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(CNN) —  

The Obama administration on Wednesday slammed North Korea’s pugnacious rants toward South Korea and the West and a U.S. intelligence official called the strident remarks worrisome.

“The ratcheting up of rhetoric is of concern to us,” the official said.

The question is whether this is “just rhetoric,” he said. Or, “are things happening behind the scenes indicating the blustering has something to it.”

Another U.S. official said there is a lot of uncertainty about North Korea’s intentions.

“North Korea is not a paper tiger so it wouldn’t be smart to dismiss its provocative behavior as pure bluster,” that official said.