US Intel report warns of N Korea’s ICBM tests

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“Flight tests are part of North Korea’s effort to expand the number and type of missile systems capable of delivering nuclear warheads to the entire United States,” said report.reports Asian Lite News

The United States Directorate of National Intelligence (DNI) on Monday warned that North Korea’s missile launches could be the groundwork for a return to intercontinental ballistic missile and nuclear bomb tests this year.

DNI, in its annual Worldwide Threat Assessment, also reported that North Korea’s main nuclear reactor facility at Yongbyon appears to be in full swing, potentially creating additional fuel for nuclear weapons.

It said North Korea’s continued development of ICBMs, intermediate-range ballistic missiles and submarine-launched ballistic missiles showed the country’s intention to bolster its nuclear delivery capability, according to a Reuters report.

“In January, North Korea began laying the groundwork for an increase in tensions that could include ICBM or possibly a nuclear test this year – actions that Pyongyang has not taken since 2017,” Reuters quoted the report.

“Flight tests are part of North Korea’s effort to expand the number and type of missile systems capable of delivering nuclear warheads to the entire United States,” it added.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s Unification Ministry on Tuesday called on North Korea to abide by agreements it has made with the international community for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula amid reports that Pyongyang is continuing activities at its main Yongbyon nuclear complex.

On Monday, Rafael Mariano Grossi, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said the agency’s monitoring team has spotted indications of activity at the 5-megawatt reactor at the complex north of Pyongyang, calling the move “deeply regrettable”, reports Yonhap News Agency.

“The government, in close coordination with related countries and agencies, such as the US and the IAEA, is continuing the monitoring of North Korea’s nuclear and missile activities,” a Unification Ministry official told reporters here on Tuesday.

The official declined to comment further on “intelligence matters”, but added there hasn’t been any major activities worthy of attention.

“(We) urge North Korea to respect the spirits of agreements it has signed with the international community and South Korea (to push for the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula).”

According to the IAEA, the North appears to be building an annex to a centrifuge enrichment facility at Yongbyon, though its purpose has yet to be determined.

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