No sooner than it had pledged on February 29 to halt long-range ballistic missile tests, nuclear testing, and uranium enrichment at its Yongbyong nuclear facility, the North Korean regime announced it would launch a long-range ballistic missile-ostensibly to lift a satellite into orbit. The April 12 launch failed shortly after liftoff, the fourth such long-range missile test failure.
While North Korea probably cannot miniaturize a nuclear warhead to fit on its missiles yet, a third nuclear test would allow them to make significant progress in that direction.
Now the governments of the United States, China, and other leading nations must focus on the difficult task of preventing North Korea from conducting another nuclear weapon test explosion.
In 2006 and 2009 we saw a cycle of escalation in which North Korea launched a long-range rocket, which drew international rebuke, and then North Korea responded with a nuclear test explosion on each occasion.
Another long-range ballistic missile test launch--even a failed one--is a problem. A ballistic missile test launch followed by another nuclear test explosion, followed by accelerated uranium enrichment activities, is a much more significant problem.