The United States believes there is a “real possibility” that North Korea could conduct a nuclear test or other saber-rattling while Joe Biden is on his first visit to Asia as president, a top US official said on Wednesday.
National Security Adviser Jack Sullivan said that during Biden’s visit, “our intelligence reflects the real potential” of nuclear-capable missile tests or nuclear weapons tests.
Biden left on Thursday for a series of summits hosted by US allies South Korea and Japan.
Sullivan said North Korea, which has rejected UN sanctions for conducting missile tests this year, could use Biden’s visit as a “provocation”.
This could mean “further missile tests, long-range missile tests or a nuclear test, or both openly, in the early days of the president’s visit to the region or later,” he said.
The Biden administration “is ready to make both short- and long-term adjustments in our military approach to ensure that our allies in the region are providing both defensive defenses and we are responding.”
Sullivan said a possible response was being coordinated “closely” with South Korea and Japan, and he discussed the issue with his Chinese counterpart on Wednesday.
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