Despite an ongoing barrage of increasingly ominous warnings and sanctions from the world outside the Hermit Kingdom, North Korea’s Kim Jung-un launched another ICBM this morning, Asia time, that flew through Japanese air space.
It was the second such shot in a month in open defiance of international pressures from the Trump administration, China, Russia and the United Nations. Chief of Staff John Kelly informed the president of the firing during a black-tie affair honoring the White House Historical Association.
In late August, dictator Kim called for a series of new missile launches, now clearly unfolding. And his military also fired off three simultaneous shorter-range missile tests as signs of intransigence and to test their rapidly-developing missile technology.
Western intelligence officials altered their estimates of North Korean nuclear missile capabilities this summer to say the communist regime could be capable of hitting a United States target within the next 12 months.
A new Gallup Poll out this morning finds that a clear majority of Americans now favors military action against North Korea if diplomatic and economic measures fail to curb the threat. Fifty-eight percent now say they favor a military response, at least as a last resort. That’s up significantly from the 47% who said that in 2003 when Kim’s father was deceiving the international community about his intentions.
An administration spokeswoman referred all media inquiries to the Pentagon. But the attitude has been the same throughout this president’s tenure, increasingly stern warnings against any attack on a U.S. territory such as Guam or U.S. allies such as South Korea and Japan.
Immediately after the launch from an airbase near the Pyongyang airport, Japanese authorities flashed cellphone alerts to citizens in the missile’s projected path. “We need to make North Korea understand that there is no bright future for them if they pursue this course further,” said Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
In South Korea, authorities took the unusual step of conducting a mock air attack on the North Korean base. At the request of Amb. Nikki Haley and Japan, the U.N. Security Council will hold another emergency meeting Friday morning. Yada-yada.
The latest missile took the same basic flight path as the last one on Aug. 29, east from Pyongyang over the Japan Sea, then over Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido and out over the Pacific to splash down in international waters. The difference this time was the presumed ICBM traveled 600 miles farther than the previous 1,700-mile test.
Wonder if anyone is tracking the splash points of these launches and attempting to recover the missile to study its components and composition.
The North was believed to be developing a lighter-weight missile metal that could still endure the harsh stresses of re-entry from space into the atmosphere. Such material would lengthen a weapon’s range, possibly to reach the continental United States, which Kim has vowed to attack.