China and North Korea’s Missile Problem
China says it has a responsibility to try and dissuade its “blood ally,” North Korea, from launching a three-stage rocket in a few weeks but that they only hold so much sway over their belligerent neighbors.
First, it would be better said that China is North Korea’s “bloody ally.”
Second, the non-power of the UN is again on display. There are already at least two resolutions against North Korea with regard to pursuing ballistic missile technologies and testing such capabilities. It’s like the bumper sticker on gun laws: when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. And China could easily get North Korea to turn off any such test were they so inclined.
Finally, maybe this would be a good chance for a more useful UN resolution, one that would endorse the US using its anti-missile systems to shoot down any North Korean launch. Yes, Russia and China would be opposed, but the US, along with South Korea, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand, could form a formidable political block of shared interests on the subject, and as with North Korea, could just ignore the lack of authorization and act if they wanted.
Still, don’t hold your breath on a real world missile defense demonstration. Much bureaucratic wrangling and consensus building would be required (the State Department is good at making speeches and traveling; not so good at building consensus) and for the rest of the Obama Administration, were a shoot-down to occur, it would only refocus their de-funding decisions on missile defense as well as the pending cuts to defense spending (and the country’s associated security vulnerabilities) via sequestration.