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North Korea may soon test new solid-fuel ICBM: intelligence agency | Conflict News

South Korea’s national intelligence service said North Korea may consider holding large-scale military exercises.

North Korea may hold large-scale military exercises in March or April and may test a new solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the South Korean intelligence agency has told lawmakers in the country, according to local media. .

News of possible North Korea military drills comes as the head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog – the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – said there were signs of “deeply disturbing” activity detected at Punggye-ri nuclear test site in North Korea.

“The Punggye-ri nuclear test site remains ready to support a nuclear test, and we continue to see signs of activity near Gallery 3 of the test site,” the IAEA director general said. , Rafael Grossi, in a statement to the board of governors of his organization. published on Tuesday.

“The reopening of the nuclear test site is deeply troubling,” he said.

South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) on Tuesday briefed members of their country’s legislature on possible large-scale military exercises by North Korea, as well as reports of food shortages and recent outbreaks. of the daughter of the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un.

Citing a report that North Korea faces an annual rice shortage of 800,000 tons, the NIS said North Korea’s food shortages were not so severe that they could be considered a threat to the system of government. The spy agency blamed the northern food shortage on distribution problems and the effects of COVID-19.

Kim last week urged North Korean officials to meet agricultural production targets amid reports of a “serious” food situation in the country.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his daughter Kim Ju Ae attend a military parade to mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of the North Korean military, at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea, 8 February 2023, in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central.  News Agency (KCNA).  KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.  REUTERS IS NOT ABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE.  NO SALES TO THIRD PARTIES.  SOUTH KOREA OUT.  NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALE IN SOUTH KOREA.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his daughter Kim Ju Ae attend a military parade to mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of the North Korean military, at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea, on February 8, 2023 [File: KCNA via Reuters]

The Southern spy agency also said Kim’s daughter – Kim Ju Ae – who has been featured in state media with her father on several occasions in recent months, was likely promoted in public to report that Kim’s reign is dynastic. NIS intelligence officials said the most likely explanation behind the girl’s appearance was that Kim wanted to promote the legitimacy of the fourth generation of the Kim family regime. Ju Ae’s first public appearance late last year sparked speculation that she was groomed to be the next leader. Ju Ae is believed to be around 10 years old.

The intelligence agency also said Kim’s first child would be a son and the North Korean leader also has a third child whose gender is unknown. Unlike his younger sister, Kim’s son has not made a public appearance, the NIS reported.

Yun Kun-young, of South Korea’s main opposition Democratic Party, told reporters after the intelligence briefing on Tuesday that there was a possibility that Pyongyang could also launch a reconnaissance satellite next month, the report said. South Korean Yonhap News Agency.

The US and South Korean militaries are also currently preparing for large-scale military exercises later this month, dubbed Warrior Shield FTX and Freedom Shield.

North Korea has warned it is ready to take action to prevent the joint drills from taking place.

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