The State Department is pressuring Beijing about its communist ally North Korea following failed efforts to halt the recent rocket launch that proved to be Pyongyang’s first successful long-range missile test.
The Obama administration, as part of its “lead from behind” strategy, had placed responsibility for halting the North Korean missile test on China, arguing it is in Beijing’s interest to maintain regional stability by stopping the launch.
A Chinese delegation visited Pyongyang in early December in what U.S. officials assessed was an attempt to persuade the regime of Kim Jong-un not to conduct the test.
China state television reported Beijng’s “regret” for the launch the day of the test, adding that “if every country does the same, the world will be turned upside down.”
Nuclear test site watched
U.S. intelligence agencies have stepped up monitoring of North Korea’s underground nuclear site in anticipation that Pyongyang will follow past practice by conducting an underground nuclear blast after a long-range missile test.
One official said there were no signs that a nuclear test is imminent, and there was no increased activity at the Kilju test facility in the mountains in the northeastern part of the country.
Official assessments are that North Korea could conduct another nuclear test with little preparation.View Entire Story
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Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon (www.freebeacon.com). He has been with The Times since 1985.
He is the author of six books, four of them national best-sellers. His latest book, “The Failure Factory,” on government bureaucracy and national security, was published in September 2008.
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