In a childish display of military might, Kim Jong-Un held a parade of missiles in the streets of Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea. My missiles are bigger than yours was his unsubtle message. The response of our Foreign Secretary was measured. Stop threatening international security and abide by UN rules, he told Kim. Prez Trump has warned that North Korea is “looking for trouble” and ordered an aircraft carrier group to the area to highlight American concern. China has expressed fears that “conflict could break out at any moment”, and that such a situation would bring no winners. Boris Johnson, appealed for calm, sensibly pointing out that North Korea had threatened a military escalation on previous occasions.
Mr Johnson said: “We stand alongside our international partners in making clear that North Korea must adhere to UN resolutions designed to secure peace and stability in the region and stop its pursuit of nuclear weapons.”
Cristina Varriale, an expert in nuclear proliferation at RUSI, said: “What is very significant is that the North Koreans have paraded two canisters that could possible contain ICBM. We are not sure how far down that path they have got, but now we know they have got the shell capacity.
“It could be a mock-up – they could just be at the design stage, or they could have gone further. Having a solid fuel missiles means you can launch it far quicker, and it is easier to hide.”
In other words, so far, they could be firing blanks. But don’t let’s take any silly chances.