Sanctions or No Sanctions, North Korea Keeps Pushing Their Limits

North Korea, undeterred by a recent batch of harsh sanctions from the U.S. and the United Nations, launched another ballistic missile on Thursday – this one, for the second time, flying in the airspace over Japan.

International governments confirmed that the missile reached an altitude of nearly 500 miles and traveled more than 3,700 kilometers before landing in the Pacific Ocean. On its route, it passed over Japan’s Hokkaido Island, inspiring another harsh condemnation from Japanese officials as well as the Trump administration.

This is the second time in under a month that North Korea has fired a ballistic missile over Japanese sovereign territory, and this one flew much higher and further than the last one. Not incidentally, the missile would have been able to reach the U.S. territory of Guam, an island that has been threatened repeatedly by the Kim Jong Un regime.

The launch came a day after Pyongyang lashed out with a new set of threats, vowing to “sink Japan” and plunge America into an age of “ashes and darkness.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the missile launch would only serve to make North Korea’s negotiating position worse.

“North Korea’s provocative missile launch represents the second time the people of Japan, a treaty ally of the United States, have been directly threatened in recent weeks,” Tillerson said. “These continued provocations only deepen North Korea’s diplomatic and economic isolation. United Nations Security Council resolutions, including the most recent unanimous sanctions resolution, represent the floor, not the ceiling, of the actions we should take. We call on all nations to take new measures against the Kim regime.”

Unfortunately, the time for relying on these toothless sanctions may be coming to an end. The sad truth is that war may be our only option. The only question is whether we pursue war now, when we have the slightest chance of confining casualties to the “thousands” range…or war later, when North Korea has an ICBM nuclear arsenal capable of wiping millions of innocent people off the face of the earth.

There are no “good” options left, thanks to three administration’s worth of bad decisions and appeasements. Three presidents placed America’s bets on the hope that, sooner or later, the mad Kim regime would either come to its senses or fall out of power. That bet has not paid off. Now it’s up to Donald Trump to make the hard choice that his predecessors wouldn’t. It’s time to relieve the world of this madman’s dark threat. The alternative – more waiting – is increasingly unacceptable.

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