North Korea has now demonstrated its ability to reach parts of the United States with an intercontinental ballistic missile, and the most powerful response President Donald Trump could muster was a tweet.
China and Russian Federation have cautioned the USA against provocative military activities, seeking dialogue over North Korea's nuclear and missile development following Pyongyang's test of an ICBM Tuesday. -South Korean military exercises, called the peninsula the "world's biggest tinderbox" and said the deployment of US strategic assets was playing with fire.
The White House also referred to the test of an intercontinental ballistic missile as a "major escalation".
The reclusive North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests and a series of missile launches in defiance of United Nations resolutions for decades as it is still at war with South Korea after the 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. But, as ever with North Korea, there are some important reasons to be skeptical.
"Something has to be done about it", Trump said as he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
"It will be a war more serious in terms of human suffering than anything we've seen since 1953", he said, referring to the final year of the Korean War.
The worrying analysis comes after North Korea tested a deadly ICBM thought to be capable of reaching USA shores.
Because the US and North Korea do not maintain diplomatic relations, the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang acts on behalf of the USA, assuming consular responsibility for American citizens there. China fears Korean reunification would extend USA influence up to its frontier. North Korea's mercurial 33-year-old leader, Kim Jong Un, has escalated the nuclear threat to alarming proportions. Above all, the United States is dealing with China and North Korea, not the Soviet Union. But Trump has been dissatisfied with China's response. Signing a treaty would also mean formal recognition of North Korea by the US government and entail some sort of a security agreement guaranteeing Washington will not attack the North.
The problem, of course, and the source of seven decades of animosity and bloodshed, is that North Korea harbors a mirror image of that ambition.
Pyongyang played the US and world powers as patsies and relentlessly pursed both proliferation and a parallel missile program to launch and deliver nuclear warheads. By one estimate, as many as 1,000 US nationals make their way to North Korea annually.
Beijing faces an understandable nightmare - under sanctions and pressure, North Korea collapses and the newly unified country becomes a giant version of South Korea, with a defence treaty with Washington, almost 30,000 American troops and possibly dozens of Pyongyang's nuclear weapons - all on China's border.
"U.S. schemes aimed at increasing its threats of nuclear war against the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] for its legitimate and justified measures to defend its sovereignty and dignity will not evade self-destruction", the North Korean newspaper reportedly said.
So, should the world community nervously allow the DPRK into the nuclear club in the hope that it's Pyongyang's political bottom line, or finally confront North Korea during this narrowing window of opportunity? Around the same time, North Korea also obtained sensitive nuclear technology from Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan.
And the world's most powerful country has made clear that North Korea is destined for the ash heap of history. They, however, didn't have nuclear weapons.