TOKYO, May 19 (KUNA) -- North Korea is waiting for the right timing to conduct a nuclear test after completing all preparations, South Korea's spy agency said Thursday, Yonhap News Agency reported.
At the same time, signs of preparing for a missile launch were also detected, the National Intelligence Service was quoted as saying. The agency gave the assessment during a closed-door briefing to lawmakers amid concerns the North could carry out a major provocation during US President Joe Biden's visit to Seoul this week, according to briefed lawmakers.
"We were told that there are signs of a missile launch even though the country is in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, and with regard to a nuclear test, all preparations have been completed and they are gauging the timing," Rep. Ha Tae-keung told reporters.
A day earlier, Kim Tae-hyo, the first deputy chief of South Korea's presidential National Security Office, said the North's preparations for an intercontinental ballistic missile launch appear to be "imminent."
Pyongyang last conducted its nuclear test in September 2017, followed by the launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of reaching the US homeland. The North had since maintained a self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile testing, but ended the moratorium on long-range missile testing in March by firing an ICBM. The country staged 16 rounds of missile launches so far this year. (end)