Brent Scowcroft Center Resident Senior Fellow Robert Manning writes for Foreign Affairs on reports that North Korea has upgraded its main satellite launching facility:
As if the world didn’t have enough problems, North Korea seems to be gearing up to add a few more. According to theNew York Times, commercial satellite imagery has confirmed that Pyongyang recently upgraded its main satellite launching facility, which will enable it to test an intercontinental missile. Pyongyang has been unusually quiet in recent months, which makes the world all the more nervous as it awaits North Korea’s 4th nuclear test and probable ICBM test.
All this follows a deliberate, high-profile Chinese snub of North Korea; in July, Xi Jinping, China’s president, cozied up to South Korea to underscore Beijing’s dissatisfaction with North Korea. This diplomatic gambit scored points in Seoul and sparked anger in Pyongyang. But that isn’t the end of the story. If North Korea does conduct another test, the spotlight would land on Beijing — North Korea’s chief enabler. And therein lies the long-term dilemma in Chinese–South Korean relations.