North Korea’s latest missile launch suggests weapons testing lull was seasonal, rather than strategic

The Washington Post reports: North Korea’s latest missile launch is its 20th in 2017 — and it seems to dash the idea that Pyongyang’s lull in weapons testing over the past two months indicated a willingness to negotiate.

There had been 74 days between Tuesday’s test and the last North Korean provocation, a missile launch on Sept. 15 that capped off a bout of activity over the summer months. Some hoped that this apparent lull might show that Washington’s hard-line policy on North Korea was working or that Pyongyang was open to a “freeze for freeze” policy like that advocated by China and Russia.

Instead, just before 3 a.m. local time, North Korea fired a missile to the east. The Japanese Defense Ministry said the missile appeared to have flown for about 50 minutes. This missile test may prove a theory put forward by analysts such as Shea Cotton, a research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies: The lack of weapons tests from North Korea was not strategic — it was seasonal. [Continue reading…]

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