North Korea ignored international warnings by conducting a missile test on Sunday. Although the test failed, heightened tensions remain between President Donald Trump and North Korean ruler Kim Jong-un.
The test occurred after the military parade in the North Korea’s capital on Saturday that highlighted the country’s growing arsenal. The display celebrated the 105th anniversary of the birth of the Jong-un’s grandfather Kim Il Sung.
The parade took place amidst increasing international concern that North Korea was preparing for a sixth nuclear test or a major missile launch, possibly its first flight test of an ICBM capable of reaching the United States.
Details of the attempted launch are scarce, but this gesture of defiance has created a new low between United States and North Korean relations.
Trump has warned that North Korea is “looking for trouble” and ordered an aircraft carrier battle group to the region. China has expressed that “conflict could break out at any moment.”
The failure took place as Vice President Mike Pence visited Seoul, South Korea, as part of an Asian tour. Addressing American military personnel in South Korea, Pence expressed his strong stance against the North Korean regime.
“This morning’s provocation from the North is just the latest reminder of the risks each one of you face every day in the defense of the freedom of the people of South Korea and the defense of America in this part of the world,” said Pence.
U.S. officials are seeking China’s assistance to apply diplomatic pressure to North Korea and perhaps cut off financial assistance.
“China is the key,” said Senator John McCain on NBC’s Meet the Press. “China can shut them down.”
The United States is not expected to retaliate for the failed missile test, but the Trump administration is prepared to respond in the future of North Korea refuses to de-nuclearize.
“The president and his military team are aware of North Korea’s most recent unsuccessful missile launch,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis issued in a statement. “The president has no further comment.”