North Korea gauges nuclear test timing after completing preparations

SEOUL: North Korea has been calculating the best time to conduct its seventh nuclear test after finishing its preparations.

In a closed-door briefing to lawmakers, the National Intelligence Service also claimed there are evidence North Korea could launch an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) despite the COVID-19 breakout, South Korea's intelligence agency said Thursday.

According to state News reports, the evaluation came amid concerns that North Korea could stage a significant provocation during US President Joe Biden's visit to Seoul this week for a summit with President Yoon Suk-yeol.
"It would not be unusual for North Korea to launch a missile or perform a nuclear test at some point," Democratic Party Rep. Kim Byung-kee told reporters. "Signs (of such provocations) have been discovered, and Pyongyang has practically completed its preparations."

South Korea's presidential National Security Office's first deputy chief, Kim Tae-hyo, warned Wednesday that the North's preparations for an ICBM launch appear to be "imminent."

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