North Korean Missile Launch Imminent; Mixed Signals from China
South Korean President Park Geun-Hye meets with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shortly after his arrival in Seoul today. (KIM JAE-HWAN/AFP/Getty Images)
April 12, 2013
| Security
| Asia and the Pacific
With a new U.S. intelligence report suggesting that North Korea now has the ability to deliver a nuclear warhead, Pyongyang is expected to launch a new ballistic missile test within the coming days, possibly timed to commemorate the birthday of North Korea’s founder Kim Il Sung on April 15. North Korea appears likely to fire one or more ballistic missiles out into the sea to avoid any risk of their being shot down by the United States or its allies.
In this special analysis, LIGNET’s experts look at the new intelligence about a North Korean nuclear warhead as well as mixed signals from China yesterday that warned North Korea to lower tensions but also chided the United States, South Korea, and Japan.
Pyongyang’s provocative threats and rhetoric have frustrated North Korea’s long-standing partners, China and Russia. However, neither state is likely to allow the imposition of meaningful new UN sanctions or other penalties against North Korea in response to new missile launches as long as they go harmlessly out to sea.
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