[Ed. – Hmm. Wouldn’t taking out the bellicose pipsqueak have sent an even more powerful message to the Norks?]
When North Korea launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile in the early-morning hours of July 4, US military and intelligence personnel watched for a full 70 minutes, a source told The Diplomat‘s Ankit Panda.
During that time, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un smoked cigarettes and strolled around the launchpad under the US’s gaze.
The US knew North Korea was in the final stages of building an ICBM after a recent rocket-engine test. The US knew North Korea liked to test missiles on the American Independence Day to send a message. The US knew this missile was different from any it had seen before, and the US knew it could destroy it with a variety of precision-fire platforms in the region. Importantly, the US also had Kim in its crosshairs for over an hour — and did nothing.
Those facts speak volumes about the security climate in the Koreas.
By letting North Korea know it watched Kim as he prepared for one of his country’s most provocative missile tests ever, Baker says, the US may have sent two powerful messages.