US cites ‘genuine possibility’ of North Korea missile, nuclear test during Biden trip
The Biden administration is preparing for the possibility that North Korea will conduct a missile or nuclear test near or during President Biden’s visit to the region.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters Wednesday that U.S. intelligence suggests that such tests before, during, or after Biden’s upcoming Asia trip are a “genuine possibility.”
“Our intelligence does reflect the genuine possibility that there will be either a further missile test, including 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,” Sullivan said.
“We are preparing for all contingencies, including the possibility that such a provocation would occur while we are in Korea or in Japan,” he added.
Sullivan said U.S. officials are coordinating with allies in the region and indicated the issue came up during his call earlier Wednesday with his Chinese counterpart, China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi.
Biden is scheduled to leave for the Asia trip on Thursday. He’ll first visit South Korea, where he will meet with newly-elected President Yoon Seok-youl, and then Japan, where he will meet with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. Biden is also scheduled to participate in a meeting of the Quad alliance, which includes the U.S., Japan, Australia and India.
Sullivan did not provide further detail on the intelligence assessment about the threat from North Korea, which has conducted several ballistic missile tests in recent months. The most recent test launch was reported on May 4.
North Korea has not conducted a nuclear test in five years.