North Korea tests four more missiles — and China’s patience

Pyongyang can’t stop shooting (a) missiles into the sea and (b) itself in the foot.



At 7:36 a.m. Monday, local time, North Korea launched four missiles that flew about 600 miles over land before splashing into the Sea of Japan. As my colleague Anna Fifield reported, three landed within Japan’s exclusive economic zone, dropping about 200 miles from the coast.


The test was timed to provoke: It came not a month after North Korea tested a solid-fuel rocket that it claims is part of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting the United States, and three weeks after the assassination in Malaysia of ruler Kim Jong Un’s half brother, Kim Jong Nam, who had been under Chinese protection.


It also coincided with joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises on the southern half of the Korean  Peninsula and, to Beijing’s certain dismay, the opening of China’s National People’s Congress, the Communist Party’s tightly scripted, not-to-be-interrupted-or-overshadowed political spectacle.


Indeed, although North Korea has been getting on a lot of nerves lately, it may be China that is most acutely frustrated. And since China is North Korea’s only real ally, that could hurt Kim Jong Un.


China and North Korea used to be tight. Mao Zedong once said the neighbors were as close as “lips and teeth.” But in recent years, China has grown frustrated with the North’s potentially destabilizing economic woes, as well as a nuclear program that, from Beijing’s perspective, keeps the U.S. military at the gate.



Read more from the source article published in The Washington Post Mar. 6 2017

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