The Kim Jong un regime may be preparing to test another missile in North Korea to coincide with President Donald Trump’s first major trip to Asia, Reuters reports.
The information was briefed to South Korean officials by the South Korean intelligence organization, and their assessment was based on “the active movement of vehicles around the missile research institute in Pyongyang. The North will constantly push for further nuclear tests going forward, and the miniaturization and diversification of warheads.”
The North has had a flurry of missile and nuclear tests this year, which may have resulted in damage to the testing sites. Earlier this week, it was reported that a tunnel associated with one nuclear test site may have collapsed, killing up to 200 people. North Korea’s largest nuclear test to date occurred there on September 3rd.
North Korea appears to value timing provocative acts on significant dates or holidays to pack an additional punch. This year on July 4th, Independence Day in the United States, they had their first successful test of an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM).
Trump’s trip will take him through Japan, South Korea, China, the Philippines, and Vietnam. North Korea will be a priority on the President’s agenda as he seeks to build consensus with the region’s major powers in containing Kim Jong un.
Trump has opted to flout tradition when handling North Korea, making a series of well-publicized threats to destroy North Korea, while famously calling Kim Jong un “Rocket Man” during a speech at the United Nations.
Another missile launch while Donald Trump is well within range of the North’s missile and conventional weapon systems while visiting the Korean Peninsula will without a doubt escalate tensions at a time when three American aircraft carriers are staged in the region and F-35’s have for the first time arrived in Japan.
North Korea did not conduct any missile tests during the month of October, breaking seven consecutive months of provocative missile launches.
President Trump is not scheduled to visit the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) which separates North and South Korea, opting instead to visit Camp Humphreys, a U.S. Army base in South Korea.
Image courtesy of Uwe Brodecht via Wikipedia