North Korea may be prepping missile launch to test Trump: report

North Korea may be prepping missile launch to test Trump: report

North Korea could be making preparations for a missile launch to test President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to hold virtual bilateral meeting with Mexican president More than 300 charged in connection to Capitol riot Trump Jr.: There are 'plenty' of GOP incumbents who should be challenged MOREReuters reports.

U.S. intelligence officials said that there are indications that Pyongyang could hold a launch in the coming days or weeks. The timing of such a missile test is unclear, but South Korean media has reported that a launch could be timed to Trump’s inauguration on Friday.

A missile launch could be more a test of how the Trump administration will handle such provocations from Pyongyang, a U.S. official who monitors North Korea told Reuters.


"If they do something, it would more likely be a test of Trump than a test of a delivery system," the official said. "They probably want to see how he reacts to a provocation, even a minor one, and if they really want to poke him, they'll do it right away."

North Korea has become increasingly bold in touting its nuclear capabilities. The country’s leader Kim Jong Un announced earlier this month that the hermit kingdom was close to testing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

Trump responded to the announcement on Jan. 2, tweeting that the launch “won’t happen.”

“North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S.,” he tweeted. “It won't happen!”

But Reuters reports that experts on North Korea say the country’s claims about testing an ICBM appear credible. Pyongyang also conducted two nuclear tests in 2016, a significant increase over previous years. North Korea is under international sanctions related to its nuclear program since 2006.

The idea that North Korea could use a missile launch to test Trump isn’t unprecedented. Pyongyang conducted its second nuclear test ever in May 2009, just a few months after President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaObama opens up about singing 'Amazing Grace' after Charleston shooting: 'I've used up all my words' Exclusive: How Obama went to bat for Warren Why the 'Never-Trumpers' flopped MORE assumed office. The country tested its third nuclear device in February 2013, shortly after Obama became his second term.