Another North Korean ballistic missile test (Confirmed)

Just in case the world was getting too boring for you…

We had hints of this yesterday coming out of Japan. Sources with their government claimed they had picked up some electronic signals indicative of North Korea getting ready for another test launch. (Reuters)

Japan has detected radio signals suggesting North Korea may be preparing another ballistic missile launch, although such signals are not unusual and satellite images did not show fresh activity, a Japanese government source said on Tuesday.

The Japanese source concluded by saying that this “wasn’t enough” to say that a launch was imminent. But they clearly know their business because it’s now been confirmed by multiple sources that Little Rocket Man has done it again. (CBS News)

North Korea has launched its latest ballistic missile test, the South Korean news agency reports. The news agency cites South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff in its report that offered no other details on Tuesday’s launch.

Last week, the U.S. issued new sanctions on four Chinese trading companies and a Chinese national said to have conducted hundreds of millions of dollars in business with North Korea. The Treasury Department also designated six North Korean shipping and trading companies and 20 vessels in an effort to disrupt funding for the nation’s nuclear and missile programs.

Usually we see Kim pull off one of these shows when he’s angry about something, making threats or otherwise looking to draw attention to himself. Those tests are frequently in response to some other global event, including a tweet from President Trump. In this case it almost seems… routine. We’ve been hearing rumors that additional missile tests were coming once North Korea restocked some of their production materials and finished analyzing the results from the previous launches and that might be all this is.

More disturbing is a related report out this morning suggesting that our intelligence agencies believe that North Korea is now within one year of “completing their nuclear program.” Take that as you will, but it seems fairly obvious that Kim is on track toward his ultimate goal of being able to drop a nuke anywhere on the planet he wishes. At that point, there’s a new, full member of the nuclear club being run by an arguably insane individual with no real restraints on him. He’s clearly had help from outside sources… certainly Iran at a minimum in terms of missile construction and design. If Kim actually does have the ability to miniaturize his weapons to fit on these missiles then it’s pretty much game over.

The exit question is obvious. Does the rest of the world have an obligation to “do something about it” now or is the prospect of an actual shooting war with North Korea too awful to consider? (And make no mistake… that war would be awful. We would win, but the losses would be staggering in the opinion of virtually every military expert who has weighed in on it.) I’m assuming that a diplomatic solution involving Kim giving up his nukes is no longer even worth discussing if he’s this close to the finish line.

Either way… sleep tight, folks.

UPDATE: (Jazz) This in from our side of the pond. Confirmed. An ICBM.

And it was the highest, longest launch yet. (Fox)