North Korea will soon test another intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of reaching the United States, according to a Russian lawmaker who returned Friday from a four-day visit to the reclusive country.
A Russian delegation was given information about the upcoming missile launch during an official visit to the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, according to Russia’s state-run Sputnik news agency, which cited Anton Morozov, a member of the Russian Duma’s international affairs committee.
“They are preparing for a new test of a longer-range missile,” Morozov was quoted as saying. “They even gave us mathematical calculations that they believe prove that their missile can hit the western coast of the United States.”
The lawmaker, who described the general mood in Pyongyang as “rather belligerent,” made the comments after returning from North Korea. His claim follows other reports that suggest North Korea may be preparing for another provocation.
South Korean media reported late last month that, according to South Korean and U.S. intelligence officials, several missiles had been moved from a rocket facility dedicated to the production of ICBMs. South Korean officials have further said they expect another provocation some time this month.
South Korea believes such a provocation could happen on or around October 10, when North Korea marks the 72nd founding anniversary of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea. North Korea’s first-ever nuclear test took place just a day before the holiday, on October 9, 2006.
Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have been escalating for months, fueled by North Korea’s frequent missile tests and its advancing nuclear weapons program, as well as U.S. military exercises and threatening statements by President Donald Trump.
North Korea test-fired two long-range missiles in July, including one which in theory is capable of reaching large parts of the U.S. mainland. North Korea’s missiles are typically fired into high altitudes to avoid reaching other countries, although two missiles this year were flown over northern Japan.
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