The regime in Pyongyang is bent on defying the outside world. Following the test of a nuclear device a few weeks ago, it fired an Unha-3 satellite-launch rocket into space on Sunday. Last night the UN Security Council condemned the launch, which American, South Korea and Japan see as a part of a programme to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile. (The last such launch was in December 2012.) Experts believe that if modified to carry a 2,200lb (1,000kg) warhead instead of a satellite, the Unha-3 could reach Alaska and possibly Hawaii. Less clear is whether North Korea has made the strides it claims in miniaturising a nuclear warhead for the missile to carry. Unless and until the country’s only ally, China, loses patience, little can deflect the rogue state from its chosen path. In the meantime, expect South Korea to ask for American help with improving its missile-defence systems.