The Washington Free Becon recently reported some disturbing developments to North Korea’s nuclear program. The latest developments include Pentagon confirmation that the unveiling of a new long range missile by the Norks last October was indeed a new missile. The KN-14 which has an estimated range of 6,300 miles is different than its longer but thinner predecessor the KN-08.
Neither missile has been flight tested but Adm. William Gortney U.S. Northern Command commander said last October that, “I agree with the intel community that we assess that they have the ability, they have the weapons, and they have the ability to miniaturize those weapons, and they have the ability to put them on a rocket that can range the homelands”.
Both missiles were displayed on Chinese made wheeled transporter erector launchers (TELs) which were provided to North Korea despite a UN ban. China claims the TELs were sold to transport lumber though they are too wide for most logging roads and there are other trucking solutions to moving timber.
Last year the Administration pressed for continued sales of US nuclear reactors and technology to China. Rick Fisher, a senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center said, “It is a profound contradiction for the administration to fail to sanction CASIC and to fail to publicly criticize Chinese leaders for allowing CASIC to enable Pakistan’s [medium-range ballistic missiles] to target all of India and to allow North Korean ICBMs to target American cities”. The TEL’s producer is the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp.
If China sells the launchers to Iran it will likely be characterized as a success and example of how our negotiation with Iran has brought drawn them further into the peaceful fellowship of nations.