North Korea could conduct another intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test in the coming days, Japan’s defense minister warned on Friday, ahead of US President Joe Biden’s visit to South Korea and Japan this weekend.
“There is a possibility of North Korea taking further provocative actions, including launching such a long-range missile,” Nobuo Kishi told reporters, according to Kyodo News.
As part of his first presidential trip to Asia, Biden is due to arrive in Seoul on Friday and will head to Japan on Sunday.
Pyongyang conducted an ICBM launch this March, its first since November 2017, drawing condemnation from Washington and several of its allies.
White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said earlier this week that US intelligence believes there is a “genuine possibility” of another such test “in the days leading into, on, or after” Biden’s trip.
This could include “a long-range missile test or a nuclear test or, frankly, both,” he said at a briefing on Wednesday.
Commenting on Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program, the Japanese defense minister said: “North Korea's intention to continue its weapons development program with its back turned to the international community is clear and is absolutely unacceptable.”
Kishi said North Korea “may complete preparations for what would be its seventh nuclear test,” adding that Tokyo and Washington “will work together … to collect information and monitor the situation.”