Words are one thing
It would be bad enough had the North Korean missile launch this week been just another case of dictator Kim Jong-un rattling his saber for domestic political reasons or merely because he enjoys frightening and angering people.
But the vast majority of military rockets used in test firings are sent up for concrete engineering reasons. Every time a “bird” soars, designers and manufacturers learn more about how to make their missiles fly longer and more accurately.
Beyond any reasonable doubt, Tuesday’s missile flight provided information North Korea can use to increase the lethality of its arsenal. It is likely the test had something to do with efforts to develop nuclear weapons that can be rocketed to targets, perhaps in Japan or even the United States.
After being informed of the launch, President Donald Trump assured the public this country will “take care of it.” He told reporters, “It is a situation we will handle.” Precisely how, he did not say.
No doubt Trump will be criticized again for allegedly being too belligerent toward North Korea.
But here’s the thing about words used as Trump has in comments about Kim: They are only words.
Missile tests, on the other hand, are attempts to make one’s weapons more dangerous and to develop new armaments. At some stage, such tests themselves become tipping points. The world community — China, in particular — needs to recognize that and rein in Kim before he becomes a threat Americans cannot tolerate.