North Korea could be preparing to test another intercontinental ballistic missile this weekend amid the country’s celebrations for the 64th anniversary of its founding on Saturday, South Korea warned.
South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon speculated on Thursday that North Korea could be preparing another missile test similar to the one that flew over Japan last month, according to NBC.
“There is speculation that there could be an additional provocation of firing an ICBM at a normal angle on [Sept.] 9,” Lee told reporters.
A “normal” angle refers to a test with a missile trajectory that simulates an attack with a specific target, such as the U.S. territory of Guam, as opposed to a test in a controlled environment within North Korea.
Missile tests by the country have in the past coincided with major political events in the country. There’s no indication that a Sept. 9 test would target Guam, but North Korea has threatened to attack Guam in the past, and a missile test near the island would be likely seen as a major provocation.
South Korea’s leader argues that now is the time to increase sanctions against Pyongyang and brushed off the possibility of dialogue in the near future.
“It is time to step up sanctions and secure sufficient military means to deter them in order to stop North Korea’s nuclear armament,” Lee said. “We ultimately need talks with North Korea, but it is not the time right now to speak of a dialogue with North Korea.”
North Korea fired a missile over the country of Japan last month in a missile test that was immediately denounced by its neighbors. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called the August launch an “unprecedented, serious and grave threat.”
President Trump said at the end of August that “all options” are on the table for dealing with North Korea’s continued nuclear aggression.
“This regime has signaled its contempt for its neighbors, for all members of the United Nations and for minimum standards of acceptable international behavior,” Trump said.