Let’s put some context into North Korea’s decision to keep on testing missiles in the face of U.S. threats.
First, the DPRK felt provoked by South Korea’s decision to further deploy THAAD, reported on August 20, 2017 in China’s Xinhua news article, “DPRK slams ROK’s decision to deploy additional THAAD launch pads.” From Pyongyang, “The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Sunday slammed the Republic of Korea’s decision to deploy four additional launch pads of the Terminal High Altitude Areas Defense (THAAD) system under alleged threat from DPRK missiles.”
On June 18 Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen met with Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Nizar Madani at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.
The head of the Western military alliance extended an invitation to the Persian Gulf kingdom to join NATO’s partnership program in the region, stating “Saudi Arabia is a key player in the region and NATO would welcome the opportunity to engage the Kingdom’s government as a partner in the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative.”
Last month news reports confirmed that the United States is to station interceptor missiles in Bulgaria and Romania as an extension of the Pentagon’s European (and international) missile shield project. Details are still forthcoming, but what is all but certain is that the missiles are to be land-based versions of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System with Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) medium-range anti-ballistic missiles, though there is already speculation that even more advanced deployments are planned.
Until last month discussions of U.S. missile shield plans to replace the earlier one of basing ground-based midcourse missiles in Poland and an accompanying X-band missile radar facility in the Czech Republic centered on the Baltic and Eastern Mediterranean Seas and on Israel and the Persian Gulf, with Turkey and the South Caucasus expected to be the next links.
On January 20 Poland’s Defense Ministry revealed that a U.S. Patriot missile battery previously scheduled to be stationed near the nation’s capital will instead be deployed to a Baltic Sea location 35 miles from Russian territory; on January 29 the White House approved the transfer of 114 Patriot missiles to Taiwan as part of a $6.5 billion arms package that also includes eight warships the receiving nation plans to upgrade for the Aegis Combat System with the capacity for carrying Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) ship-based anti-ballistic missiles.
On January 22 head of the Pentagon’s Central Command General David Petraeus told an audience at the private Institute for the Study of War that two warships equipped with the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System “are in the Gulf at all times now.”  A news report on the same day remarked “That statement – along with the stationing of other U.S. air defense assets in the region – sends a strong signal to Iran….” 
[Correction: For THAAD read Terminal High Altitude Area Defense]
September 17th saw the Obama administration abandoning plans to station interceptor missile systems in Poland and the Czech Republic. However the proposed system, which started under Reagan with STAR WARS, has not been scrapped but rather expanded to cover other regions of the world that the US has a strong strategic interest in.
Rick Rozoff is an analyst and manger of the email list Stop NATO International.
Since the surprise news from the White House and the Pentagon on September 17
that the United States was relinquishing plans to deploy ground-based
interceptor missiles to Poland and a missile radar installation to the Czech
Republic speculation has been rife on two scores.
First, was this move a sincere effort to “reset” relations with Russia, possibly
part of a trade-off for Russian transit and logistical support for the American
and NATO war in South Asia and for Moscow agreeing to tougher measures –
sanctions at any rate – against Iran?
Deutsche Welle ran a feature shortly after U.S. President Barack Obama’s and
Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ announcements on Thursday which included an
interview with Dr. Karl-Heinz Kamp, the research director at the NATO Defense
College in Rome, in which he described the seeming U.S. about-face as follows: