US officials and US Koreans are on alert in Asia for South Korea’s sacked military exercises, mock military exercises and meetings with their Japanese and South Korean counterparts with US Secretary of State Tony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
“We do not comment on intelligence matters,” Defense Department spokesman Lt. Col. Martin Meiners said in a statement. “North Korea’s continued development of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction threatens US interests and the security of our allies and allies. In the near term, the DoD will, in close coordination with allies and partners, seek to prevent negative behavior . North Korea.”
Regional experts said that it would not be surprising to see any kind of testing or abetment.
“North Korea has traditionally hurried some provocative action in both the US and South Korea’s new administration,” said Bruce Klingner, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation. Office, and in 2009, to mark the arrival of former President Barack Obama to the White House. “The idea was to train them like a dog,” a North Korean defender told me, “Klinger said, to squeeze concessions from more than two powerful countries.
“So history indicates that they will do something even in the first few months of the Biden administration.” “If they act provocatively, it is completely predictable.”
White House press secretary Jane Saki declined to react to Tuesday’s remarks. “We have no direct response or response to the remarks made by North Korea,” Saki told reporters at a briefing on Air Force One en route to Philadelphia with the president. She pointed to meetings between Blinken, Austin and their counterparts, where “of course, area security will be the subject of discussion.”
Later this week, Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan are also scheduled to visit Alaska with their Chinese counterparts.
Blinken and Austin on Tuesday confirmed their commitment to “complete denuclearization of North Korea” in Japan and to create opportunities for further cooperation between the US, Japan and South Korea, according to a statement by the US State Department .
They will meet in South Korea on Wednesday at local time.
A senior US official said North Korea could decide whether to go through the test after seeing what came out of the Blinken and Austin meetings in Asia.
Warnings about North Korea’s ‘dangerous success’
On Tuesday, a senior US general issued a public warning about the threat posed by North Korea
“The Kim Jong Un regime has achieved alarming success in its quest to demonstrate its ability to threaten the US homeland with nuclear-armed ICBMs, believing such weapons to deter US military action and their regime’s Necessary to ensure survival, ”Gen. Glenn Van Herk is the head of the Northern Command of America and responsible for the defense of the continental United States, the Senate Armed Services Committee reported on Tuesday.
Officials said the possibility of a trial in the coming days prompted Biden administration officials, among many agencies, to discuss how they would respond publicly.
Officials will not be specific about what the latest intelligence represents, but a possible scenario, based on imagination and other intelligence, is that a missile or rocket engine test may occur. The last known North Korean weapon was tested in March 2020.
Over the past few days, US intelligence has focused on vehicle activity at a site near Sanam-dong, outside Pyongyang, where ballistic missiles and space launch vehicles are believed to have been built in the past.
Officials told CNN that if North Korea conducts a test while the two secretaries are in Asia, it will send a pointed message to Biden that Kim wants to make sure he is seen as a key player in the region. However, a test will not come as a shock, with many analysts surprised that Kim has avoided carrying one out for so long.
One would vary depending on the American response, in fact, Pyongyang tested.
If North Korea conducted a nuclear test or ICBM test, specifically an ICBM in October 2020, nicknamed “Monster ICBM”, that would be “related”, it would be very provocative, “Klingner said .
“This would be a massive violation of UN resolutions; it would require a strong Biden admin response, and it would curb diplomatic outreach. When they do something provocative, it will take three to six months for diplomacy. Stops because no one wants to be seen rewarding that kind of behavior, “he continued.
If Pyongyang tests a missile, there will be questions determining America’s response to what range the missile has traveled, how far it has traveled and how it flies into Japanese territory, Klingner said. Rocket engine testing “is not really a violation, but not helpful,” he said.
Trump ignores missile launches in the latter part of his presidency
Trump ignored a record number of North Korea’s missile launches in 2019, arguing that he did not violate Kim Jong Un’s pledge not to launch nuclear or ICBM tests – although the North Korean leader announced that he There is no need to conduct those tests because those programs were complete and the UN resolutions did not require Pyongyang to launch any.
The Biden administration is still reviewing the Trump administration’s North Korea policy, which could be completed “in the coming weeks,” according to a senior State Department official.
While Biden is unlikely to write “love letters” like Kim Jong Un, Biden’s administration has offered a clear pause from the former administration in its stated goals for its vision for the Kingdom of the Hermit. On several occasions, in testimony, statements or briefings, US officials have stated that their goal is “complete denuclearization of North Korea.”
Military and intelligence officials have long stated that they assess that North Korea has continued with the Trump administration and the development and development of missiles and nuclear warheads, despite public rhetoric from Trump, and now about the nuclearization Biden administration .
“The relentless pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs by North Korea is an extraordinary threat to the United States and our allies,” Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Affairs David Helvey told the House. The service committee last week.
This story has been updated with a statement from a spokesman for the Department of Defense.
The report contributed to CNN’s Jennifer Hansler, Nicole Gout, Kylie Atwood and Carolyn Kelly.