North Korea may conduct nuclear test during Biden’s visit to Seoul
US intelligence services consider that there is a “real possibility” that Kim will decide to organize “a provocation” during Biden’s first trip to Asia.
THE North Korea completed preparations for a nuclear test, a South Korean lawmaker said on Thursday, based on an intelligence report, on the eve of a visit by the US president. Joe Biden to Seoul, South Korea.
“Preparations for a nuclear test have been completed and they are just looking for the right moment,” said deputy Ha Tae-keung after being briefed by the National Intelligence Service.
Despite the outbreak of covid-19 that affects the country, the United States and South Korea consider that the communist regime of Kim Jong Un continues with the program of atomic and military development.
After a record number of weapons tests since the beginning of the year, including an intercontinental ballistic missile, Kim may try to distract public attention from the health crisis with a nuclear test, analysts say.
US intelligence services believe that there is a “real possibility” that Kim will decide to organize “a provocation” during President Joe Biden’s first trip to Asia, who will land on Friday afternoon in Seoul.
This could mean “more missile tests, long-range missile tests or a nuclear test, or frankly all, in the days before, during or after the president’s trip to the region,” said Jake Sullivan, national security adviser.
Satellite images indicate that North Korea is preparing for a nuclear test, which would be the seventh in its history. Washington and Seoul have been warning for weeks that this could happen any day.
“Attracting global attention”
“North Korea will want to attract global attention with a nuclear test during President Biden’s visit to South Korea and Japan,” said Cheong Seong-chang of the Center for North Korean Studies at the Sejong Institute in Seoul.
The visit coincides with the serious outbreak of covid in North Korea, the first officially announced in the country since the beginning of the pandemic, which already affects almost two million people with “fever”.
In Seoul, Biden will have his first meeting with the new South Korean president, Yoon Suk-yeol, who took office last week.
Talks between Washington and Pyongyang have been stalled for several years, following the failure of the surprising diplomatic rapprochement between former President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, who met on three occasions.
Analysts point out that the rapprochement has made no progress in dismantling North Korea’s nuclear program.
Kim recently championed the idea of strengthening the country’s nuclear arsenal “as fast as possible”.
According to Ewha University professor Park Won-gon, part of the blame for this situation must be placed on the Biden administration and its “systematic lack of attention” to North Korea since it came to power.
“In terms of denuclearization and US-North Korea ties, we’re back in the situation where it’s hard to make any progress,” Park said.
“There really is no way to stop North Korea right now,” he added.