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US intelligence suggests North Korea could conduct nuclear test this month

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May 13, 2022 - 02:09 AM

WASHINGTON (AA) – US intelligence indicates North Korea could conduct another nuclear test as early as this month, the White House said on Thursday.

“Our intelligence assessment is consistent with the DPRK’s recent public statements and destabilizing actions, including the test launch of multiple intercontinental ballistic missiles,” spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, using an acronym that refers to North Korea.

The US has shared the relevant intelligence with its allies in the region “and is closely coordinating with them,” she added. Should Pyongyang carry out the nuclear test it would mark its seventh such trial. The last was in 2017.

Biden is slated to departed for South Korea, and Japan next week in a regional tour in which he will sit down with newly-sworn-in South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, and Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio.

In Japan, Biden will also participate in a leader-level meeting of the regional group known as the Quad, which includes the US, Japan, Australia and India.

Earlier on Thursday, Japan and South Korea separately announced North Korea launched a suspected ballistic missile toward the Sea of Japan.

It was the second missile launch since Saturday when Pyongyang fired a suspected submarine-launched ballistic missile toward its eastern waters. With the latest launch, North Korea has reportedly fired 16 missiles since the beginning of the year.

Pyongyang is prohibited from conducting ballistic missile and nuclear tests by successive UN Security Council resolutions.

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