North Korea's new supreme leader Kim Jong Un conducted two missile tests last year. The first, in April, failed. The second, in December, was by all accounts a huge success. But it was not just a test of North Korea's ability to put an object into space. Kim's second test was also the first test of the new Chinese leadership.

To date, it would appear that Chairman Xi Jingping has passed Kim's test with flying colors ... at least in North Korea's eyes. The rest of us are not too sure.

Some, myself included, have argued that we should not have been so quick to judge Kim and his policies by the April 2012 rocket launch or the Feb. 29 "Leap Day Agreement" that preceded, and was subsequently undermined by, that missile firing. Both actions had clearly been mandated by his father, Kim Jong Il, before he died, and these dying wishes had to be honored. That logic no longer applies. While the North still proclaimed that the December launch was carrying out "the last instructions" of the Dear Leader, this decision rests squarely on Kim Jong Un's shoulders. Those hoping that the boy general would lead his country in a new, less confrontational direction will need to await another sign.