By George Friedman
The North Koreans took a step back from the U.S. red line last week by announcing that they would halt, at least temporarily, the testing of nuclear weapons and missile systems. They also said they would dismantle an important missile launch site. The willingness to state this publicly is in some ways more significant than the actions. The North Koreans have not tested a nuclear weapon in more than seven months or an intercontinental ballistic missile in nearly five months, and at this point those tests are the key to further development. They need to know that the configuration of their nuclear weapons will fit on their missiles and that their guidance system – which has troubled them before – is functioning. To determine those things, they must do tests.
Promises in politics aren’t worth much, and just because North Korea abandoned one missile test site doesn’t mean it can’t just test at one of its other existing sites. But still, there is some