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North Korea's latest missile launch failed. But here's what's next.

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North Korea's latest missile launch failed. But here's what's next.

WATCH  | North Korea's latest missile launch failed. But here's what's next.

While President Trump is busy putting out fires stateside, North Korea is starting what may become one of his first foreign policy fires by continually testing missiles. 

The country launched another missile toward Japan Wednesday morning, but it failed within seconds. 

So far officials from the United States and South Korea have yet to release information about what type of missile was fired or why it failed, according to CNN

North Korea's latest missile launch failed. But here's what's next.

While visiting South Korea over the weekend, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said military action is still "on the table" in terms of responding to North Korea. 


At a rally in Louisville, Kentucky, this week, Trump said what's happening in North Korea is "disgraceful." That came after a Friday tweet in which he noted that the country has been behaving "very badly" and said, "China has done little to help." 

Still, the Trump administration seems to be trying to figure out how to respond to North Korea's aggressive behavior. 

Harry Kazianis, the director of defense studies at the Center for the National Interest, explained that for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un these missile tests are simply meant to deter other countries from attacking and are more of a "muscle flex" than anything else. 

"I think a lot of this is scientific and technical to prove that they have the capabilities to deliver a warhead," Kazianis said. 

"You have to remember, Kim Jong Un is a dictator and a dictator has to constantly keep proving that he has authority, that he has power, that he has [an] impact in the international system."


He added that North Koreans are going to keep testing these missiles, but it will likely take them years, maybe even a decade or more to build out those capabilities. 

So what does that mean for the U.S. and countries in the Asian Pacific? 

North Korean Ballistic Missile Launches
Ballistic Missile Launches

Kazianis said the Trump administration, along with South Korea and Japan are likely to target entities that are helping North Korea build its nuclear missile capabilities. 

“So that would be banks, maybe Chinese firms that are helping them build out these technical capabilities, corporations...." he explained. "If you can put targeted sanctions on those entities, I think you’d have the capability to really constrain them from going much further.”

Kazianis said he expects the U.S. to announce secondary sanctions on North Korea in the coming weeks. And that's exactly what he said needs to happen because "once you learn how to build nuclear warheads, it's very hard to put the genie back in the bottle."

Wednesday's launch was North Korea's second in just a month. The country fired off four intermediate-range ballistic missiles on March 6, three of which landed less than 200 nautical miles from Japan's coast. 

Although the country's missile program seems to be growing quickly, Wednesday's launch goes to show that it has not come without setbacks. 

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