For the first time since 2017, North Korea tested another ballistic missile in defiance of the international community. The leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-Un, clearly relishes in being back in the international spotlight, going so far as to release a Hollywood style promotional video for the launch.
The war in Ukraine has put North Korea on the backburner of international discussion and the missile test changes the narrative, pushing the hermit kingdom to the forefront. The dictators of the world do not seem intimidated by President Joe Biden or NATO. Gone are the days where Trump commanded respect from the leaders of the world — for now.
One aspect of the story that must be examined is China’s role in the test. North Korea does not do anything without at least tacit approval from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). China is watching how the world reacts to the war in Ukraine. They may be analyzing the reaction and considering an invasion of Taiwan.
The United States is — besides not becoming involved — doing everything it can to avoid direct military action with Russia, adopting instead a proxy strategy similar to its foreign policy in the 1980s. President Biden is also reengaging with Iran, even as it is shooting missiles at our diplomats. Each of these data points taken alone would not deter China from invading Taiwan. But taken as a whole, President Biden’s actions are letting the CCP know that the United States would sit on its hands if war broke out on the island.
One thing that may be deterring China is the difficulty Russia is having in subduing Ukraine. Ukraine’s modern weaponry is causing havoc on the battlefield. China must know that any invasion would be extremely costly in blood and treasure.
Kim Jong-un has made the decision that defying the United States is worth the risk with his latest ICBM test. Will China reach the same conclusion?