SEOUL – In the latest development in Asia’s rocket race, South Korea on Wednesday announced it had successfully tested a solid-fuel rocket, a key step on the country’s path to placing a spy satellite into orbit.

The development comes against the backdrop of an accelerated testing program by North Korea, which has launched 12 projectiles this year, including an ICBM last week.

On the wider chessboard, it is happening as multiple Asia states upgrade their strategic capabilities in locations as far distant as beneath the waves of the Western Pacific to the clouds of the Tibetan plateau.