The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopol­i­tics -

North Korea’s lat­est mis­sile test in­volved the fir­ing of a road-mo­bile in­ter­me­di­ate-range bal­lis­tic mis­sile (IRBM) dubbed the Hwa­song-12.

Pho­to­graphs of the mis­sile pro­vided by North Korean state me­dia re­veal the IRBM is car­ried atop a Soviet-era de­sign trans­porter erec­tor launcher that was ei­ther ac­quired from the Minsk Au­to­mo­bile Plant, known as MAZ, or copied and built by China.

A photo anal­y­sis in­di­cates the Hwa­song-12’s launcher is ei­ther a vari­ant of the MAZ launcher used to fire the Soviet SS-20 IRBM or a Chi­nese re­verse-en­gi­neered model of the MAZ pro­duced for the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army’s Wan­shan mo­bile mis­sile launch­ers.

Chi­nese knock­off launch­ers are made by the Wan­shan Spe­cial Ve­hi­cle Co., a wholly owned sub­sidiary of China Aerospace San­jiang Space Co. Ltd. that is a sub­sidiary of China Aerospace Science and In­dus­try Corp. (CA­SIC), a ma­jor state-run mil­i­tary man­u­fac­turer. A sim­i­lar trans­porter erec­tor launcher was ex­ported to Pak­istan to carry Is­lam­abad’s Sha­heen II IRBM and shown off in re­cent mil­i­tary pa­rades in the coun­try.

A spe­cial United Na­tions panel of ex­perts con­firmed in a re­port sev­eral years ago that CA­SIC-made Wan­shan mis­sile launch­ers were sold to North Korea in 2011 by China, although Bei­jing claimed the ve­hi­cles were sold to haul lum­ber. In­stead, the North Ko­re­ans mod­i­fied the trucks for their new KN-08 road-mo­bile ICBM.

Rick Fisher, a China mil­i­tary af­fairs an­a­lyst, sus­pects the same com­pany that sold the KN-08 launch­ers may have pro­vided the launch­ers for the Hwa­son-12.

“In its brochures, the San­jiang Spe­cial Ve­hi­cle Co. says it en­tered into a joint ven­ture with MAZ,” said Mr. Fisher, a se­nior fel­low at the In­ter­na­tional Assess­ment and Strat­egy Cen­ter.

Mos­cow in the 1980s would have been un­likely to per­mit its then-satel­lite Be­larus to trans­fer such strate­gic mis­sile tech­nol­ogy to China. But af­ter the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Be­larus could have shared the know-how.

“So the cru­cial point is that Wan­shan/San­jiang would have been very fa­mil­iar with MAZ TEL de­signs if they wanted to con­ceal the real ori­gin of some of the TELs now in North Korea and Pak­istan,” Mr. Fisher said.

China’s new eco­nomic and devel­op­ment plan for the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion is get­ting high-level at­ten­tion in­side the Pen­tagon and U.S. in­tel­li­gence agen­cies.

The pro­gram is called “One Belt, One Road,” pro­duc­ing the awk­ward acro­nym OBOR. It is the brain­child of Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping, who has amassed more power in the past few years than any com­mu­nist leader since Mao.

A Pen­tagon of­fi­cial tells In­side the Ring that close ex­am­i­na­tion of the pro­gram has re­vealed an omi­nous side: China’s govern­ment has set its sights on global dom­i­na­tion through eco­nomic means, backed by its diplo­matic, in­tel­li­gence and mil­i­tary power.

In­ter­nal strate­gic anal­y­sis of OBOR in­di­cates the ul­ti­mate ob­jec­tive of Bei­jing is to un­der­mine and ul­ti­mately re­place the cur­rent Amer­i­can-led in­ter­na­tional or­der based on democ­racy and free mar­kets. Bei­jing in­stead is work­ing to cre­ate a new Chi­nese-led eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal or­der com­bin­ing anti-demo­cratic gov­er­nance com­bined with so­cial­ist, state-di­rected eco­nomic and fi­nan­cial poli­cies.

Mr. Xi an­nounced the OBOR pro­gram in 2013 as an

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