North Korea may conduct another intercontinental ballistic missile launch in defiance of international sanctions or test a more powerful nuclear weapon in the near future, the South Korean military warned on Sunday.
“There is a possibility that North Korea is likely to test its nuclear warhead and missile capabilities through a nuclear test with more explosive power,” South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense said in a report to the National Assembly, per Yonhap News.
The report said North Korea was ready to conduct a long-expected nuclear test at any time.
Earlier this year, analysts suggested the North might be preparing to conduct its sixth such test after satellite imagery showed a high level of activity at the country’s nuclear test site. Each of the previous five tests had grown increasingly more powerful and experts have warned that North Korea may be working to craft a warhead that can fit atop a long-range missile.
North Korea conducted its second successful ICBM test last week. The launch drew international condemnation and an angry response from President Donald Trump, who appeared to blame China and its inability to rein in the North
“I am very disappointed in China. Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet,” Trump tweeted. “They do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk. We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!”
On Sunday, the U.S. flew two supersonic bombers over the Korean peninsula in a show of force, Reuters reported.
Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, does not plan to seek an emergency session of the UN’s Security Council. She said there was “no point” in doing so if China did not act to help pressure Kim.
Known for hyperbole, North Korea has warned of “stern action of justice” should the U.S. seek increased sanctions against the country, Yonhap reported.
“If the United States sticks to its military adventurism against us and super-intensive sanctions schemes, we will respond with a stern action of justice as we have already declared,” a North Korean spokesperson told the country’s state run news agency.