N.Korea gauges timing for nuclear test after completing preparations: Seoul spy agency

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North Korea has been gauging the timing to conduct what would be its seventh nuclear test after completing its preparations.

The National Intelligence Service also said in a closed-door briefing to lawmakers that there are signs North Korea could launch an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) even though it is grappling with the COVID-19 outbreak, South Korea’s spy agency said Thursday.

The assessment came amid concerns that North Korea could carry out a major provocation during U.S. President Joe Biden’s visit to Seoul this week for a summit with President Yoon Suk-yeol, Yonhap News Agency reported.

“It would not be abnormal for North Korea to launch a missile or conduct a nuclear test at one point, as signs (of such provocations) are detected and Pyongyang has almost completed its preparations,” Rep. Kim Byung-kee of the main opposition Democratic Party told reporters.

Kim Tae-hyo, the first deputy chief of South Korea’s presidential National Security Office, said Wednesday the North’s preparations for an ICBM launch appear to be “imminent.”

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