If the message in 2016, when 24 ballistic missile tests and two nuclear tests were held, was that North Korea
's missile development is accelerating, the message in 2017 is that Kim is in hot pursuit of a diversified and capable operational nuclear force -- North Korea
's own "full spectrum" deterrent . The addition of an ICBM to the mix is the most significant, but also the least surprising development. North Korea
has signaled serious intent to acquire an ICBM since its first flight-test of the Taepodong-1 back in 1998 , which led the United States
to negotiate a missile-launch moratorium that would incidentally collapse on July 4
, 2006 . Second, in the past year and a half, Pyongyang has shown off advances in its missile nose cones and liquid-fuel engines that have steadily signaled that a successful flight test like the one we saw on July 4
was imminent. That North Korea
eventually tested an ICBM is not a shock (though the speed with which it did so is certainly surprising). The real story is the divers ...