USING OLD Soviet technology, the North Koreans have updated the past and blasted into the future.

“The success of the launch — which most analysts assume is a clandestine missile test — brings North Korea one step closer to demonstrating a viable and reliable long-range delivery vehicle for a nuclear warhead,” said Benjamin Habib, lecturer in Politics and International Relations School of Social Sciences at La Trobe University. “If the missile technology is mastered, the last technical hurdle remaining is miniaturization of a nuclear warhead that can be deployed on the Unha-3 rocket.” – North Korea silences doubters, raises fears with rocket launch

The launch comes on the cusp of Japanese and North Koreans are about to have national elections, with North Korea playing a large part in the political debate.

What this means for the U.S. and China is something entirely different.

Chung Min Lee, a professor of international relations at Yonsei University, says the launch was also designed to send a message to the United States and China. “Kim Jong Un has told President Obama and Xi Jinping, ‘I am not going to do business as usual. I’ll go down this particular path, come what may.’ This sends a very negative signal and puts the Chinese into a box. Xi Jinping must react either way….” [CNN]