The Washington Times reported this week that a ballistic missile launcher of Chinese origin was on display during a military parade in Pyongyang over the weekend. If confirmed, this would represent a daring violation of U.N. sanctions and raise serious questions about China’s credibility in regional non-proliferation efforts. Yet it’s also a potential opportunity for the United States to repudiate Beijing’s assertions that its influence over North Korea is limited.
According to analysts, the launcher in question bears striking similarities to ones produced by the People’s Liberation Army between 2010 and 2011, and designed to carry a 6,000-kilometer range ICBM, which would be capable of reaching parts of Alaska. This suggests that the launcher was either manufactured in China or based on blueprints supplied by China. Though valid questions remain, one South Korean official has been quoted as saying that, “all goods have been imported from China.”