In defiance of international pressure, North Korea last night launched a long range missile, underscoring the belligerent regime’s continuing threat to U.S. interests and regional stability in Asia.

The launch comes as the rogue nation is continuing its transition to new leadership under dictator Kim Jong-un, who replaced his father Kim Jong-il after his death in December. In addition to the missile test, it has been reported that North Korea may also be in the “final stages” of preparations for another nuclear test, leading to escalating tensions that could spur Jong-un to undertake more provocative military actions.

This is despite promising on February 29 to agree to a “moratorium on nuclear tests, long-range missile launches, and uranium enrichment activity at Yongbyon and [would] allow the IAEA to monitor the moratorium on uranium enrichment while productive dialogues continue.” The Obama Administration was criticized for accepting this vague statement as a bilateral agreement without insisting on a detailed joint document that clearly laid out both sides’ commitments. Today, we see the result as North Korea is claiming that its test did not violate the terms of the agreement.

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