Whatever the US and the international community have said or done, they have done little to dissuade North Korean leader Kim Jong-un from pursuing deadly weapons of mass destruction, in particular missiles.
Since taking power upon the death of his father Kim Jong-il in 2011, the third-generation tyrant has fired a total of 53 missiles, with nine of them this year.
The latest launch was Monday involving a Scud-class ballistic missile capable of striking land- and sea-based targets, according to a preliminary analysis by South Korea’s military.
Kim’s objective is clear: nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles. He wants to turn North Korea into a nuclear power capable of attacking not just neighboring South Korea and Japan, but the US mainland.
North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests so far -- all under Kim’s watch -- and is seen preparing for the sixth one.