Passing Test Planned By North Koreans

Until they learn more about President-elect Donald Trump’s plans, policies and personality, it is likely most other nations, even our enemies, will engage in something of a diplomatic honeymoon with the new White House.

Not North Korea. That country’s vicious dictator, Kim Jong Un, already has vowed to pressure Trump into an early peace-or-war decision.

Kim has said North Korea is preparing to test a new intercontinental ballistic missile — one theoretically capable of hitting the United States. Pyongyang already has medium-range missiles and nuclear weapons. Perfecting a long-range ICBM would leave it just one stage — miniaturizing an atomic device to be carried by a missile — away from the capability for nuclear blackmail on a global scale.

U.S. officials already have said that any North Korean missile deemed a threat to the United States will be shot down.

That leaves open a variety of questions, including what happens if a tested ICBM is aimed in a direction other than here.

Clearly, part of Kim’s scheme is to put Trump to an early test. Will he continue to permit North Korea’s military buildup, as have both Republican and Democrat presidents in the past? Or will Trump do something more resolute?

Without the diplomatic and military information available to Trump, only a fool would suggest a specific course of action.

But one thing is obvious: U.S. policy toward North Korea has not worked in the past. Kim is eager to learn whether he can continue to get away with sharpening his saber as he rattles it. Some way to convince him of the error of his ways needs to be found — quickly.