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Nate Jackson / Apr. 17, 2017

North Korea’s Failure to Launch

Another botched missile test is no reason to dismiss the threat. Indeed, Mike Pence offers a stern warning.

North Korea has become increasingly belligerent over the years, as pathetic attempts at diplomacy — begun with Bill Clinton’s special emissary Jimmy Carter — failed to yield the desired results. In Saturday’s celebration of “the Day of the Sun,” the birthday of North Korea’s founder, Kim Il Sung, the communist nation held a massive parade to show off its military prowess. This included numerous missiles on display (or at least on faux display), some of which are intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. Though it did not launch a ballistic missile or conduct a nuclear test, on Sunday morning, the North Koreans attempted a missile launch — it exploded almost immediately.

That failed launch was timed to coincide with Vice President Mike Pence’s departure for South Korea. “The era of strategic patience is over,” Pence warned North Korea from the demilitarized zone Monday. “President Trump has made it clear that the patience of the United States and our allies in this region has run out and we want to see change. We want to see North Korea abandon its reckless path of the development of nuclear weapons, and also its continual use and testing of ballistic missiles is unacceptable.”

The Trump administration is hoping for — and starting to receive — cooperation from China. Over the weekend, Air China suspended its Beijing-Pyongyang route, which is a small but clear signal of disapproval. China said the decision was “market-based,” but coming from a Communist nation that’s obviously a smokescreen. Still, the question is whether North Korea will listen. Kim Jong Un is a bit of a loose cannon, and his government isn’t responding to Chinese requests for diplomatic meetings.

If Kim doesn’t settle down, however, Pence offered this warning: “Just in the past two weeks, the world witnessed the strength and resolve of our new president in actions taken in Syria and Afghanistan. North Korea would do well not to test his resolve or the strength of the Armed Forces of the United States in this region.”

Update: Or what if China’s using North Korea to its own advantage?

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