North Korea’s provocative test launch of a new ballistic missile last weekend is a sobering reminder that Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program is one of the world’s most dangerous and intractable security issues.

The successful test of the Pukkuksong-2 missile, in violation of multiple UN resolutions, demonstrates that North Korea is making rapid progress in developing more reliable solid-fuel rockets that are becoming increasingly difficult to locate and destroy.

Perfectly timed to disrupt the intimacy of Donald Trump’s dinner with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the missile test was a clear message from Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s own unpredictable strongman, that he is not going to be intimidated by the new US President.

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