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According to a US intelligence analysis, North Korea might resume ICBM and nuclear tests this year

As the Directorate of National Intelligence (DNI) noted in its annual Worldwide Threat Assessment released on Monday, North Korea’s missile launches could serve as a prelude to the country’s resumption of intercontinental ballistic missile and nuclear bomb tests this year, which would mark the first time since 2017.

Commercial satellite data captured by U.S.-based experts on Tuesday shows development at North Korea’s nuclear testing facility for the first time since it was stopped in 2018. The site was decommissioned in 2018.

On February 7, the Department of National Intelligence released a report ahead of a congressional hearing scheduled for Tuesday. The report stated that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un remained “steadfastly committed” to expanding his nuclear weapons arsenal as well as ballistic missile research and development.

The continued development of intermediate range ballistic missiles and submarine-launched ballistic missiles by North Korea, according to the United Nations, demonstrates the country’s intention to increase its nuclear delivery capability.

It was reported that “North Korea started preparing the framework for an uptick in tensions that might include an intercontinental ballistic missile launch or potentially a nuclear test this year,” which would be the first such move by the country since 2017.

According to the report, “North Korea is attempting to increase the quantity and variety of missile systems capable of delivering nuclear weapons to the whole United States” via flight tests.

According to the DNI report, the assessment was based on material that was available as of January 21.

North Korea’s resumption of intercontinental ballistic missile or nuclear testing would be a significant extra issue for the administration of United States President Joe Biden, who is already dealing with the situation resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In the midst of delayed nuclear disarmament negotiations, North Korea has hinted that it may restart nuclear weapons or intercontinental ballistic missile tests.

There were record-breaking missile tests in January, including its biggest since 2017, and it looks to be planning to launch a spy satellite in the near future.

On Monday, the United States and ten other countries expressed disappointment in the United Nations Security Council’s failure to condemn North Korea’s missile launches this year, claiming that the failure had eroded the credibility of both the council and the global non-proliferation regime in general.

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