Washington, 19 May 2022 (dpa/MIA) – North Korea could carry out new missile tests during US President Joe Biden’s upcoming visit to Asia, the White House said on Wednesday.
“Our intelligence does reflect the genuine possibility that there will be either a further missile tests – including a long-range missile test or a nuclear test or, frankly, both – in the days leading into, on, or after the president’s trip to the region,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said during a press briefing.
“We are preparing for all contingencies, including the possibility that such a provocation would occur while we are in Korea or in Japan,” Sullivan said.
“And we are prepared, obviously, to make both short- and longer-term adjustments to our military posture as necessary to ensure that we are providing both defense and deterrence to our allies in the region and that we’re responding to any North Korean provocation,” he said.
Biden is set to arrive in Seoul on Friday and move onto Tokyo on Sunday in what will be his first trip to Asia as US president.
Last week the White House had warned that North Korea could test a nuclear weapon for the first time in almost five years as early as in the month of May.
North Korea last tested a nuclear weapon in September 2017, marking its sixth such test. Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump was unsuccessful in attempts to negotiate with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un over nuclear disarmament.
North Korea has repeatedly conducted missile tests since the start of this year, including one involving an intercontinental missile.
UN resolutions prohibit the launching by Pyongyang of ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads as part of strict sanctions imposed in response to the country’s nuclear weapons programme.