South Korea and Japan have confirmed another ballistic missile launch by North Korea. This is the first launch in over two months, and it comes as President Trump's tightening financial noose around the Hermit Kingdom is apparently having an effect.
The war of words (and tweets) between Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un had almost devolved into farce, with Trump dubbing Kim "rocket man" and North Korea responding by quoting Kim calling Trump "a mentally deranged dotard." But there's also been significant military activity by the U.S. around the Korean peninsula, with B-1B and advanced F-35 fighters overflying close to the border.
A recent defection of the North Korean soldier led to an unprecedented incident at the Panmunjom armistice village where North Korean soldiers fired over the border and physically crossed into South Korean territory in pursuit of the defector. The 22-year-old is recovering from wounds at a Seoul hospital, and his story is being broadcast by South Korea into the north.
North Korea’s actions during the defector’s November 13 escape at Panmunjom violated the armistice agreement ending the Korean War because North Korean soldiers fired across and physically crossed the border in pursuit of the soldier, Col. Chad G. Carroll, a spokesman for the UN command, told reporters in a live TV briefing.
This is not the time for North Korea to make provocative moves. The fact that Kim is being bold, cracking down even more on defections (through China), and going to great lengths to fight against the latest round of sanctions could very well mean that they are working extremely well.
As the pain level in North Korea ratchets up on all sides, who knows what Kim will do next?