The DPRK Has Conducted Another Ballistic Missile Test

I’m sure Cheryl will be along with greater details once we have them, but in the meantime:

This is a little unusual for this time of year. The typical pattern is that the DPRK essentially stops weapons testing from the late fall through the winter.

Pyongyang’s last recorded weapons test occurred 73 days ago, on Sept. 15. That launch, in which a missile was fired over Japan, capped a bout of activity that had heralded a number of technological developments in North Korea’s weapons program, including the test of its most powerful nuclear bomb yet.

The DPRK’s military training cycle also contributes to the annual fourth quarter slowdown’s in testing.

North Korea hasn’t fired a missile for 60 days, but that may have more to do with its own winter training cycle than with Pyongyang easing off on provocations.

Since Kim Jong Un took power in late 2011, only five of the isolated nation’s 85 rocket launches have taken place in the October-December quarter, according to The James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies’ North Korea Missile Test Database.

The Korean People’s Army regularly enters its training cycle every winter “and getting ready for it involves a calm before the storm,” said Van Jackson, a strategy fellow at the Center for Strategic Studies at Victoria University of Wellington.

“Fall is the harvest season, and a lot of military labor is dedicated to agricultural output when not in war mode; inefficient, but it’s the nature of the North Korean system,” said Jackson, a former U.S. Department of Defense adviser. “It’s a routine, recurring pattern, which means we should expect a surge in provocations in the early months next year.”

North Korea’s last launch was on Sept. 15, when the isolated state fired its second missile over Japan in as many months. That missile that flew far enough to put the U.S. territory of Guam in range.

As more information becomes available, what we know about today’s launch is likely to change. So stay frosty!

89 replies
  1. 1
    d58826 says:

    Well I guess rocket man figured it was a good time to jerk Dotard’s chain a bit.

  2. 2
    Corner Stone says:

    They still don’t have quite enough human feces gathered to spread out over the farms. So the military has a little time to kill.

  3. 3
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    It’s unusual because it’s 3 am in North Korea. The best information will be on Twitter. People to follow:

    @mhanham
    @annafifeld
    @nktpnd
    @narangvipin

    And a few others, but those four will get you started.

    Shea Cotton (@shea_cotton) has timelined North Korea’s missile tests. They tend to slow down during the winter, but they are not completely absent.

    Oh, and for those of you in the Santa Fe area, I’ll be speaking on North Korea next Monday.

  4. 4
    Corner Stone says:

    And I don’t know what Cole did to piss off FireFox but it just chews and chews on Balloon-Juice.com. It’s the only site I visit on FF that is getting the full on business like this.

  5. 5
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    I’m gonna get me some lunch. I’m coming down with a cold, but fortunately I have turkey soup.

  6. 6
    waspuppet says:

    The typical pattern is that the DPRK essentially stops weapons testing from the late fall through the winter.

    Wait – you mean insulting and baiting people might cause them to act more aggressively against you than otherwise?

    Are you saying that international diplomacy is different from getting a variance from the Queens zoning board?

    Maybe if I were a Master Dealmaker I would understand what’s happened here.

  7. 7
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    Also, will take a while for the numbers on range and altitude to come in, along with splashdown site.

  8. 8
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Also, too the NK Army has to rest up for the annual Team Spirit saber rattling exercise.

  9. 9
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Corner Stone: Remember, Alain has been out of pocket because his mother died. The funeral is tomorrow. Once he gets through that he’ll begin to reengage with the site maintenance that has backed up. So sorry for the inconvenience, but given the circumstances…

  10. 10
    Brachiator says:

    @Corner Stone:

    And I don’t know what Cole did to piss off FireFox but it just chews and chews on Balloon-Juice.com. It’s the only site I visit on FF that is getting the full on business like this.

    Are you running the new FireFox (Quantum)?

  11. 11
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Corner Stone: I’m running on the new FireFox and it’s fine for me.

  12. 12
    Corner Stone says:

    @Brachiator: Yes, FF Quantum 57.0. Says it is up to date.

  13. 13

    @Corner Stone: Ever since I updated my Firefox, Balloon Juice has been taking forever to load.

  14. 14
    Corner Stone says:

    With such bad balance in his walking gait, I am surprised Trump can play golf at all without falling over a few times.

  15. 15
    Corner Stone says:

    @schrodingers_cat: I saw Flying Toaster say she was looking into some interaction when she had more time.
    I’ve been trying different setups because running BJ on native FF is untenable. But that combo also hates various block programs to different degrees, as far as I can tell.

  16. 16
    Adam L Silverman says:

    Part 1:

    Part 2:

  17. 17
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    Another person to follow.

  18. 18
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    Trump is supposed to give a statement at 3pm eastern. Was going to be to the entire press corps, but now limited to the press pool. I am praying he focuses on “Chuck and Nancy.”

  19. 19
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    Also looking like long range. But numbers aren’t confirmed yet.

  20. 20
    geg6 says:

    @Corner Stone:

    You keep saying this, but I use Firefox on all my devices and don’t have a problem with it at all.

  21. 21
    Spanky says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    I am praying he focuses on “Chuck and Nancy.”

    Prepare for the worst, ’cause that’s what he does.

  22. 22
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Ought to be very stupid.

  23. 23
    GregB says:

    Rex Tillerson has dispatched the coffee boy to negotiate. He’s being sent on horseback and doesn’t speak Korean. All good.

  24. 24
    Corner Stone says:

    @geg6: I am happy for you but something changed recently for me and it’s quite frustrating. I’m using the same laptop I always use to surf various sites. I can only imagine it’s the update to FF that’s causing the issue. BJ is the only routine stop I have noticed this behavior, so don’t know what else to make of it.

  25. 25
    Cheryl Rofer says:

  26. 26
    Corner Stone says:

    @GregB: Is Papadopolous allowed to leave the country?

  27. 27
    geg6 says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Sorry about that, but just letting you know that it’s maybe your device and not BJ or FF. I’m all updated on everything and no problems.

  28. 28
    Brachiator says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Trump is supposed to give a statement at 3pm eastern. Was going to be to the entire press corps, but now limited to the press pool. I am praying he focuses on “Chuck and Nancy.”

    Also hope that he can suppress his urge to throw out gratuitous insults.

  29. 29
    Raven says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I was doing a presentation and ran into the granddaughter of the highest ranking Jewish officer killed in Vietnam. http://www.vvmf.org/Wall-of-Fa.....N-S-LERNER

  30. 30
    Cheryl Rofer says:

  31. 31
    Millard Filmore says:

    @Corner Stone:

    FireFox but it just chews and chews on Balloon-Juice.com

    On my main linux computer, Firefox v57 and the new NoScript goes into a busy loop on B-J.com
    I had to go with one of the no-script-light versions to clear that up.

  32. 32
    TenguPhule says:

    @Corner Stone:

    And I don’t know what Cole did to piss off FireFox but it just chews and chews on Balloon-Juice.com.

    Probably something involving a mop. Or mustard.

  33. 33
    TenguPhule says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Well that’s definitely not comforting.

  34. 34
    TenguPhule says:

    @Brachiator:

    Also hope that he can suppress his urge to throw out gratuitous insults.

    Maybe ask for a more likely miracle?

  35. 35
    Raven says:

    I’m staring at the Gulf of Mexico between Tyndall and Elgin and can report no increased activity. Couple of C130’s and Blackhawk’s is all. Still no fish!

  36. 36
    TenguPhule says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    A little birdy told me that missile defense is particularly vulnerable to nighttime launches.

    This is sadly true. All the successful tests so far have required defenders have clear skies, plenty of warning and homing beacons on the targets.

  37. 37
    GregB says:

    @Corner Stone:

    He’s got a permission slip from Kellyann Goebbels on Infowars letterhead. All good.

  38. 38
    Dread says:

    So, I guess I should go and join our generals and admirals on Twitter to see if the President declares war?

  39. 39
    trollhattan says:

    @Raven:
    Thank you for your service. ;-)

  40. 40
    Tilda Swintons Bald Cap says:

    Hey, maybe the NYT will do a profile about how Kim Jong Un likes to eat Korean food or something.

  41. 41
    Raven says:

    @trollhattan: it’s nuttin, believe me!

  42. 42
    r€nato says:

    you mean Trump’s endless empty threats didn’t stop DPRK from launching another missile? GTFO

  43. 43
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Raven: That’s interesting.

  44. 44
    trollhattan says:

    O/T can there be too much stupid concentrated in one small area? We may soon find out.

    Sebastian Gorka, a prominent former adviser to President Trump, indicated that he has taken on a role at the conservative Heritage Foundation.

    Gorka’s profile on the social networking site LinkedIn was updated Tuesday to include a consultant post at the conservative think tank. According to his resume on the site, he started the job in October.

    The Heritage Foundation did not immediately return The Hill’s request for comment. Gorka’s updated resume reflecting work at the think tank was first reported by the Washington Examiner.

    I’m imagining the “position wanted” ad. “Alpha male seeks wingnut welfare perch.”

  45. 45
    trollhattan says:

    @Raven:
    Definitely nuttin’ if they not bitin’!

  46. 46
    Raven says:

    @Adam L Silverman: It is. I have another friend whose father was killed that OP, if you haven’t read The Christmas Bombing, pick it up. The height of military stupidity.

  47. 47
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    No president yet. They’re waiting for the downers to kick in.

  48. 48
    Raven says:

    @trollhattan: I keep hopin.Just a couple of hours of sunlight. On the other hand it is gorgeous.

  49. 49
    Gravenstone says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: My first guess about the timing was spoofing the visual satellites (won’t do anything about IR or radar, of course). But testing launch systems capabilities in general makes more sense.

  50. 50
    Cheryl Rofer says:

  51. 51
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:
    Trump cannot fail he can only be failed

  52. 52
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Gravenstone: My default assumption is that North Korea’s missile and nuclear test scheduling has more to do with their program requirements than anything else.

  53. 53
    Cheryl Rofer says:

  54. 54
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    Meanwhile, the Republican tax bill is out of committee, might be voted on tomorrow.

  55. 55
    TenguPhule says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Meanwhile, the Republican tax bill is out of committee, might be voted on tomorrow.

    When it rains, it pours.

  56. 56
    Cheryl Rofer says:


    “Juche bird” is the short name for the test the North Koreans have said they might do of a missile with a nuke on top and detonate the nuke over the Pacific Ocean.

  57. 57
    Cheryl Rofer says:

  58. 58
    TenguPhule says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Thank you for the nightmares. //

  59. 59
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    I haven’t found a livestream of the President’s press conference.

  60. 60
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @38NorthNK is tweeting links to their previous articles on North Korean missiles.

  61. 61
    Mike in NC says:

    Dotard will be beside himself if on Friday he can announce both passing tax “reform” and launching a preemptive strike against Little Rocket Man. Winning!

  62. 62
    timmeh says:

    This is about the recent defection and maybe Tillerson’s speech.

  63. 63
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    Here’s his comment on North Korea.

  64. 64
    SFAW says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Meanwhile, the Republican tax bill is out of committee, might be voted on tomorrow.

    Corker and Johnson both voted to send it to the floor.

    Wasn’t someone here predicting that Johnson would do just that? Also good to see that Corker still goes for Partei uber Heimat, that miserable, lying fuck. And Suzie-Q is happy with killing the individual mandate, and Murkowski is down with it too.

    Well, at least the Internet is still free.

  65. 65
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    Here’s Mattis talking about the launch. Pretty much what’s in this thread.

  66. 66
    WaterGirl says:

    @Corner Stone: It’s not just Firefox. It’s been like super slow for me in Safari for a few days.

  67. 67
    Schlemazel says:

    @Spanky:
    I have tried to prepare for the worst but the bastard still finds new, lower levels of muck

  68. 68
    TenguPhule says:

    @SFAW:

    Well, at least the Internet is still free.

    That’s scheduled to be destroyed next month.

  69. 69
    TenguPhule says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: An empty table would inspire more confidence.

  70. 70
    Schlemazel says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:
    Well, we can always hope for nuclear winter to save us

  71. 71
    Tilda Swintons Bald Cap says:

    If Hillary was POTUS it would be wall to wall Republicans on TV wailing about how weak we are and how Hillary is Neville Chamberlain. At least we don’t have to listen to that.

  72. 72
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @trollhattan: Notice what they didn’t do: they didn’t make him a senior fellow or fellow or resident scholar or social scientist or senior social scientist. They made him a consultant. I’m not even sure what that means in think tank world.

  73. 73
    The Pale Scot says:

    @Raven: Not home at the moment. Last two weeks at Madeira Beach there was a rotting fish smell at the water’s edge. Faint, but noticeable. No news of red tide, but something seemed off. I didn’t do my interpretive Elephant Seal impression, just taking a quick dip

  74. 74
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Schlemazel:
    Maybe the entire admin will go on AF One to SK and get shot down.

  75. 75
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Tilda Swintons Bald Cap:
    Poor Chamberlain. Despite being a conservative, he deserves better than to be a perpetual punching bag of asshole chickenhawk American conservatives.

  76. 76
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Why was the SecDef at that meeting? This wasn’t a cabinet meeting. Nor was it specifically about defense appropriations. This was about a year end, kick the can down the road continuing resolution for a couple of months to just keep the doors open through the holidays.

  77. 77
    TenguPhule says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: That would still leave far too many unqualified idiots in charge.

  78. 78
    TenguPhule says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Why was the SecDef at that meeting?

    Because the Republicans want to raise military spending and needed a sock puppet.

  79. 79
    Brachiator says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Meanwhile, the Republican tax bill is out of committee, might be voted on tomorrow.

    The race is on …

    From Reuters

    Lawmakers must renew government funding before it expires on Dec. 8. Democrats hope to use their leverage on the budget issue to renew protections for young immigrants who entered the country illegally as children.

    Republicans want to push their tax-cut package through the Senate ahead of the budget showdown and get a final version to Trump’s desk before the end of the year.

  80. 80
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @trollhattan:

  81. 81
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I think Trump is being told to use people who actually know what they’re talking about to give statements, so that he doesn’t do a “fire and fury” again. He did it at the session with the Navajo Code Talkers yesterday when he called John Kelly to the podium to talk about what they did. Of course, the fact that the Code Talkers were so clearly not White American Males like him and had actually made a statement loosed his bigotry.

    That’s just a theory. If it’s what they’re doing, they’re batting .500 so far.

  82. 82
    trollhattan says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Embarrassing the Heritage staff is a hallmark of a certain distinction.

  83. 83
    mike in dc says:

    Outside of actually striking US territory with a nuke, what’s the worst-case? Juche Bird taking place near Guam? That’s the most provocative action I can think of short of an outright act of war. The question is whether the Pentagon would be successful from restraining Trump from ordering an attack on DPRK.

  84. 84
  85. 85
    J R in WV says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Steve Herman worked for The A P with my wife, so we knew him well in the long ago. He is a good reporter, loved the SE Asia area, freelanced out there, then got on with VOA, so his reports can be trusted. A least as much as the DOD can be trusted, if not moreso.

  86. 86
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @mike in dc: China has stated that if NK strikes first, they will be neutral.

    US strikes first, it means war with China.

  87. 87
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @mike in dc: North Korea has stated many times that their nukes are for deterrence, not first use. They said it again in tonight’s statement. I believe them, because they know that a nuclear war would destroy them.

    Their announcement is that it is a new missile, the Hwasong 15, an intercontinental ballistic missile that can reach all of the US with their hydrogen warhead. They said that this “completes” their program, a word that experts have been looking for. There was an earlier statement from a general that Juche Bird might be necessary to convince the US. So what Trump tweets will be important. He’s tweeted tonight; I think he’s had a bad day, but he hasn’t tweeted about the North Korean test.

    Strange as it may seem, I think that all this points to talks being a good idea. The way to start would be military-to-military deconfliction talks, so that their missile tests don’t accidentally come down on Japan. Military deconfliction would lead to dealing with some of North Korea’s concerns. The US and South Korea regularly have military exercises or, more frequently, overflights of South Korea by US B-1s from Guam. The B-1s can’t carry nuclear weapons, but the North Koreans don’t trust us, and conventional attacks concern them too. They would very much like those flights to stop.

    On our side, we’d like some way to deal with incidents like the North Korean soldier defecting last week, and the North Koreans pursuing him across the DMZ. And the occasional North Korean decision to shell a random island.

    Once those talks accomplish something, it may be possible to extend the subject to their missile and nuke tests. That’s how it’s done. And no way will North Korea give up its nukes, so declaring that that is necessary before any talks, as various members of the Trump administration have done, is a good way not to have talks. It may be useful to state it as a long-term goal, but the Negotiator-in-Chief doesn’t believe in giving his strategy away.

    I think it was hopeful, as I said upthread, that the Orange One had Secretary Mattis speak to the test this afternoon, rather than blustering off by himself. They may be getting across to him that this is serious business.

  88. 88
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: War would be the best thing politically that has happened to Trump since he was elected. Why would he not want it? There’s the certainty of it going badly and the possibility of nuclear apocalypse, but Trump is a wounded animal with little to lose.

    If he gets the DPRK to actually nuke an American city, that’s like 9/11 times a thousand. Russiagate would be gone. Trump could declare himself emergency dictator and rule by decree, as long as the blast doesn’t personally get him. He wins in that case.

  89. 89
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Matt McIrvin: I think that Trump is too much of a coward to declare war. I know that one can make the argument that that is all the more reason for him to make war, but look at the video of his statement yesterday. Look at any video of his statements under stress. He hugs himself, literally. He has nothing to say. “We’ll take care of that.” That’s what you say when you have no idea of what to do. It’s possible he’ll start a war in utter desperation, but he’s not there yet.

    Meanwhile, Alex Wellerstein, a historian of nuclear weapons, is tweeting his thoughts in this thread, which is very good.

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