Source: Peter KORZUN

North Korea has demonstrated its determination to up the ante in its confrontation with the world community by attempting to fire a missile from its east coast on May 31. It exploded shortly after liftoff– an unusual streak of flops even by the checkered standards of North Korea.This was the latest in a string of unsuccessful ballistic missile tests as the country tries to advance its weapons program in defiance of the United Nations and great powers, including its regional ally China and friendly neighbor Russia – both countries joining other UN Security Council (UNSC) members in strong condemnation of the tests. The UNSC unanimously adopted a resolution in March considered to be the toughest sanctions package in history imposed on the defiant country.

Media reports suggest it was an intermediate-range Musudan missile. After flying for about two or three seconds it exploded in the air. North Korea attempted three test launches of the Musudan in April, all of which failed.

Pyongyang claimed to have successfullytested a submarine-launched ballistic missile in April and released photos of the launch at the time.

The apparent success of the submarine-launched ballistic missile, along with the completion of North Korea’s first launch-capable ballistic missile submarine, is ample cause for concern anywhere within intermediate range. Additionally, there’s the KN-08mobile intercontinental ballistic missilebeing developed by North Korea.

That system boasts an estimated range of 9,000 kilometers (5,500 miles).

Indeed, tensions in Northeast Asia have been running high since Pyongyangconducted its fourth nuclear test in January and followed that with a satellite launch and test launches of various missiles.