Vox Sentences is written by Ella Nilsen.
Over the weekend, North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time, which experts believe could have a long enough range to hit Alaska. [NPR / Elise Hu]
- The US military is already classifying the weapon as a new missile not yet seen, because it contained a second stage that allowed the weapon to travel a greater distance. [CNN / Barbara Starr and Jeremy Herb]
- The missile ultimately did not get that far, or land in any other country; it was launched at a high enough trajectory so that it traveled for more than 500 miles before eventually falling into the sea between North Korea and Japan. It also was not carrying a nuclear weapon, but that’s the ultimate goal for the regime. [Vox / Alex Ward]
- But the implications of this latest launch are frightening. North Korea testing weapons has always been a scary prospect, but what is increasingly scary is that the regime is making good on its promise to develop nuclear weapons capable of hitting the United States. [Vox / Alex Ward]
- The question on everyone’s mind now is how the US and other nations will respond — and to what lengths they will go to halt North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.
- Foreign policy experts generally agree there is a handful of possible options, but with a country as unstable as North Korea, none of them are ideal. The first would be to continue the Obama-era policy of “strategic patience,” essentially working to punish the regime through further sanctions and diplomatic means in the hopes that they start behaving better. [The Atlantic / Mark Bowden]
- The latest missile tests have shown North Korea isn’t planning to comply, which is why some believe the US may pursue other options involving military force. This could include limited strikes on North Korean missile sites to try to de-nuclearize the country, without removing dictator Kim Jong Un. [The Atlantic / Mark Bowden]
- Trump’s strategy so far has been to lean on China, encouraging the country to put pressure on North Korea to halt its nuclear ambitions. On Wednesday, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley warned China that if it continues to trade with North Korea, the US would consider pulling its trade deals with China. [Associated Press / Edith Lederer]
- With any action toward North Korea, the US has to tread carefully and think about how the regime would respond, and how that could impact its key Asian allies South Korea and Japan, two populous nations within range of a potential attack from the North. [NYT / Motoko Rich]
- After North Korea’s launch this weekend, the US and South Korea quickly responded with military exercises of their own, while Russia and China urged diplomatic talks. [CNN / Jim Westcott and Stella Kim]