World Bulletin / News Desk
Pyongyang’s foreign ministry went further over the weekend, as a spokesperson said via state media Sunday that the launch could take place “anytime and anywhere”.
Seoul’s defense ministry responded by threatening the North with a stern military retaliation as well as “stronger international sanctions and pressure”, according to local news agency Yonhap.
In 2016 the United Nations Security Council agreed two resolutions against the reclusive state, which carried out a pair of nuclear tests and a series of rocket and ballistic missile launches.
North Korea has repeatedly said it is ready to fire upon the United States, which it views as a regional aggressor -- but South Korean defense chiefs have been skeptical about whether the North has mastered the necessary re-entry technology to make its long-range rockets a real threat.
Analysts will be watching any potential test to assess Pyongyang’s development in that regard, while another factor is its claimed ability to fire an ICBM from a mobile position, or “anywhere”.
However, North Korea also appears to be waiting to see how ties develop with the incoming Donald Trump administration in the U.S.
The North’s official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said in an opinion piece Monday that ending their confrontation “depends on the U.S. attitude”, suggesting that Washington must recognize Pyongyang’s nuclear power status.
Seoul is viewing North Korea’s rhetoric closely, with a unification ministry spokesperson insisting that the ICBM warning “is seen as aiming to put pressure on the U.S”.