The 12/12/12 North Korean missile test is further evidence, if the international community needed it, that North Korea intends to ensure its security by endangering the security of others. The ultimate goal remains to acquire the ability to hit the continental United States with nuclear weapons. But it affects the security of DPRK’s neighbors – particularly the ROK, Japan, and China – as well.
Even if the test was conducted in part for domestic political reasons, the defiance of international opinion should have serious consequences. That Pyongyang ignored PRC entreaties of China’s new leaders is particularly telling.
The DPRK will likely suffer tangible costs for its action: new sanctions and tighter implement of existing sanctions; enhanced deterrence by the United States, the ROK, and Japan, and new efforts to sharpen Pyongyang’s choices.