After the new sanctions were imposed Monday, North Korea called for the Security Council to be broken up, accusing it of being a "tool of evil" working for the United States. He backed up his words with action, ordering a test launch of South Korean missiles into the sea, on a trajectory precisely long enough to have wiped out the launch site for North Korea's ICBM if the weapons were aimed in that direction.
With San Francisco or NY in Kim's cross-hairs, would President Trump risk war with the North to defend Seoul or Tokyo in a future crisis?
The U.N. Security Council is set to hold an emergency meeting later Friday to discuss their response to the latest launch, which came only three days after the council unanimously approved new sanctions on Pyongyang for its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3.
The worry is less about a full-blown attack from the North on its neighbours (an unlikely possibility given that Kim is not suicidal) and more the prospect of low-level provocations - for example, the shelling by the North of contested border territories near the Northern Limit Line between North and South Korea, or use of cyber attacks to disrupt USA and allied command and control operations.
Appearing with McMaster was U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who grimly declared, "There's not a whole lot the Security Council is going to be able to do from here".
"China supplies North Korea with most of its oil".
"We try and push through as many diplomatic options as we have", Haley said.More news: Treasury Secretary Mnuchin denies using government plane for personal travel
"President Moon ordered [the military] to closely analyze and increase the readiness posture against new types of threats from North Korea, such as EMP [electromagnetic pulse] and biochemical threats", presidential spokesman Park Su-hyun said. But the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) had said the ballistic missile did not pose a threat to North America.
The South Korean military responded to the provocation from the North by launching a Hyunmoo-II missile into the sea that traveled the distance it would take to reach the Sunan airfield in Pyongyang, according to a military spokesman.
North Korea said earlier this month it was developing a hydrogen bomb that could carry out an EMP attack. "China and Russian Federation must indicate their intolerance for these reckless missile launches by taking direct actions of their own", Tillerson demanded. North Korea has launched dozens of missiles under Kim Jong Un's leadership to accelerate a weapons programme created to give it the ability to target the United States with a powerful, nuclear-tipped missile. "I have no problem kicking it to Gen. [Jim] Mattis, because I think he has plenty of options".
The emergency meeting of Security Council was convened at the request of Japan and the US.
The latest missile test raises therefore important questions about the credibility of USA extended deterrence and the protective strategic umbrella that America provides to Japan and South Korea.
Still, a reporter noted North Korea's behavior isn't really changing. Washington has tried to work with Beijing to restrain the latter's ally in Pyongyang through economic sanctions.
"After seeing your capabilities and commitment here today, I am more confident than ever that our options in addressing this threat are both effective and overwhelming", Trump said in his address to air force personnel and families on the 70th anniversary of the US Air Force.