(Seoul) Seoul and Washington said Thursday that North Korea is preparing to conduct a nuclear test, with the United States warning that it could happen during US President Joe Biden’s visit to South Korea this week.
Posted yesterday at 6:48
It appears that Biden’s first visit as president to the region will be overshadowed by an increasingly hostile North Korea.
Despite the recent wave of COVID-19 in North Korea, “the preparations for a nuclear test have been completed and they are just looking for the right time” to carry it out, MK Ha Tae-kyung told reporters, citing information from the National Intelligence Service in Seoul. .
His administration said there was a “real possibility” that North Korea would choose a “provocation” after Joe Biden’s arrival in Seoul late Friday, according to US intelligence.
That could mean “a new missile test, a long-range missile test, a nuclear test, or both,” Jake Sullivan, White’s national security adviser, said before, during or after Biden’s tour of the region. a house.
Satellite images indicate that North Korea is preparing to conduct what will be its seventh nuclear test, after a record number of tests this year, including intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).
“North Korea will want to attract global attention by conducting a nuclear test during President Biden’s visit to South Korea and Japan,” Chung Seong-chang of the Center for Nuclear Studies told AFP.
Mr. Biden, who will visit some 30,000 US troops stationed in South Korea, is ready to make “adjustments” to the US military posture in the region, and Seoul’s new president, Yoon Seok-yeol, is eager to strengthen ties.
Both Biden and Yun said they are open to talks with Pyongyang but expect real progress on denuclearization. ”
“Biden is of the view that the North Korea issue cannot be resolved through impromptu meetings between leaders as Trump did,” said Woo Jong-yup, a scholar at the Sejong Institute in Seoul.
There is no way to stop it
Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies, said North Korea will follow the results of the Yoon-Biden meeting on Saturday closely, adding that “depending on the outcome, North Korea will decide whether to speed up or slow down its nuclear and ICBM tests.”
Kim Jong-un is also well aware of the predicament the UN Security Council has reached in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, so it is very likely that a nuclear or ICBM test will take place during Biden’s Asian tour, Cheong Seong-chang adds.
Moscow is likely to block any attempt by the United Nations to impose new sanctions on Pyongyang after a weapons test.
Under international sanctions, North Korea has significantly intensified its missile tests this year, while ignoring US negotiating offers.
In 2017, the country suspended intercontinental ballistic missile launches and nuclear tests. This moratorium was already partially violated by the launch of an ICBM at the end of March.
Talks have been stalled since the failed Trump-Kim summit in 2019, and Kim Jong Un recently announced his intention to build up his nuclear arsenal “as soon as possible.”
Responsibility for this situation is partly attributed to North Korea’s “strategic neglect” by President Biden since taking office, as Park Won-joon, a professor at the University of Iowa in Seoul has ruled.
“There is no real way to stop North Korea now,” he added.
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