According to South Korean intelligence, North Korea launched a new ballistics missile test Saturday. The missile was launched from a site northwest of the North Korean capital Pyongyang and landed 430 miles away in the Sea of Japan. The test follows two failed missile tests earlier this year.
South Korea, Japan, and the United States all condemned the test. Curiously, the test comes just days after South Korea’s new President, Moon-Jae, was sworn in. He has been advocate of increased dialogue with the North.
North Korea’s latest efforts appear to push towards the development of inter-continental ballistic missiles, capable of reaching the United States. As of yet, the country has not tested ICBM’s, nor is it thought they have the ability to miniaturize warheads in order to use ICBM’s in a long-range nuclear assault.
Never, since the collapse of the former Soviet Union, has the world been as close to a possible nuclear confrontation. President Trump has said that military action is not off the table for the United States and that development of ICBM’s would constitute crossing a red line.
Speculation has emerged that the test was for the benefit of China, rather than the United States. Relations between the two countries has strained recently over Korean missile and nuclear tests fueling instability. While China supports the existence of the North Korea government, it’s grown worries that instability on the peninsula could ultimately compromise the regime and flood China with refugees in addition to the North becoming absorbed by the South.