In the calculus of nuclear deterrence, mobility guarantees inviolability. (The enemy cannot find, and therefore cannot pre-empt, a mobile missile.) It’s a huge step forward for Pyongyang. Supplied by Beijing.
How many times must we be taught that Beijing does not share our view of denuclearizing North Korea? It prefers a divided peninsula, i.e., sustaining its client state as a guarantee against a unified Korea (possibly nuclear) allied with the West and sitting on its border.
Nukes assure regime survival. That’s why the Kims have so single-mindedly pursued them. The lessons are clear. Saddam Hussein, no nukes: hanged. Moammar Qaddafi, gave up his nuclear program: killed by his own people. The Kim dynasty, possessing an arsenal of ten to 16 bombs: untouched, soon untouchable.
What are our choices?