North Korea may launch an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) or take other military action in protest at a major summit between the United States, South Korea and Japan, a South Korean lawmaker has said, citing the country’s intelligence agency.
According to internaionla media reports, US President Joe Biden is due to meet South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at Camp David on August 19, as he looks to enhance ties between Seoul and Tokyo amid nuclear threats from North Korea.
North Korea has criticised deepening military cooperation among the three nations as part of an alleged effort to set up an “Asian version of NATO”. China, a key Pyongyang ally, has made similar accusations.
Yoo Sang-bum, a member of the South Korean parliament, told reporters after meeting the chief of the National Intelligence Service on Thursday that North Korea was planning “provocations”. Support vehicles for a potential missile launch had been seen in areas near Pyongyang, while frequent movements of propellants from the liquid fuel factor had also been detected, he said.
The reclusive state could also attempt another spy satellite launch at the end of August or early September after the failure of their first effort in May, Yoo said.
There was a chance it could take place on September 9 when North Korea celebrates the 75th anniversary of its founding, he added.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who included a spy satellite among a list of key weapons requirements, has already made a second launch attempt a priority after the first was deemed the “gravest failure“.
North Korea, which sealed its borders with the COVID-19 pandemic, is also opening up, according to South Korean intelligence.
Russia agreed on broad defence cooperation when the Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu met Kim last month and watched a military parade with him in Pyongyang, Yoo quoted South Korean intelligence as saying. Chinese officials also attended the parade, and South Korean intelligence says Pyongyang is also moving ahead with the opening of the border with China.