North Korea Launches a Missile but Avoids Crossing a Red Line

A man watches a TV news program reporting about North Korea's missile firing with a file footage, at Seoul Train Station in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, April 29, 2017. A North Korean mid-range ballistic missile apparently failed shortly after launch Saturday, South Korea and the United States said, the second such test-fire flop in recent weeks but a clear message of defiance as a U.S. supercarrier conducts drills in nearby waters. The letters on top left, reading "North Korea fired a ballistic missile." (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Early Sunday morning, Korean time, the North Koreans conducted another missile test.

North Korea launched a ballistic missile Sunday morning that flew around 430 miles before crashing into the sea, U.S. and South Korean military officials said, in what appears to be the latest missile test in defiance of United Nations sanctions.

The unidentified ballistic missile was launched at 5:27 a.m. Sunday Seoul time (4:27 p.m. Saturday ET), off Kusong north of the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, a South Korean military official told NBC News.

The missile flew around 30 minutes and landed in the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary said.


The Japanese are saying that it seems like a new type of IRBM and there are muddled reports that the launch may or may not have taken place with no detectable preparation. If the latter case is true, that represents a major escalation in how the North Koreans are testing missiles and would seem to be a rehearsal for a first strike on South Korea.

The thing to focus on here is the USPACOM statement. Why? Because there is a great deal of evidence that launching an ICBM, a missile that would threaten US targets, would be casus belli in the eyes of the administration.

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley isn’t ruling out a US strike against North Korea if it tests a sixth nuclear device — while President Trump says the UN Security Council must be prepared to impose new sanctions on the hermit kingdom.

“We are not going to do anything unless he gives us reason to do something,” Haley said on NBC’s “Today,” referring to saber-rattling despot Kim Jong Un.

“If you see him attack a military base, if you see some sort of intercontinental ballistic missile, then obviously we’re going to do that,” she said. “But right now, we’re saying, ‘Don’t test, don’t use nuclear missiles, don’t try and do any more actions,’ and I think he’s understanding that.”


(BTW, for the folks who had angst about the State Department wanting to clear Nikki Haley’s public statements, this is Exhibit A in why they were right.)

Much like the Palestinians, who were described by Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban as a people “who never miss a chance to miss a chance,” the North Koreans fired this missile just after the ROK elected a soft-on-communism, accommodationist president in the person of Moon Jae-in.

The potential for warmer relations seems to have evaporated.



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