During a closed-door briefing to lawmakers on Thursday, South Korea's National Intelligence Service said North Korea has completed preparations for a nuclear test despite the regime's recent COVID-19 outbreak.
Right after the briefing, Ha Tae-kyung, a senior member of the National Assembly's Intelligence Committee told reporters that the outbreak in North Korea is expected to reach its peak in late May or early June but warned there will still be provocations.
"Even though North Korea is struggling from COVID-19, it is showing signs of a missile launch. It's completed its preparations for a nuclear test and is looking for the perfect timing."
This came a day after Kim Tae-hyo, the First Deputy Chief of the Presidential National Security Office, said that the possibility of North Korea conducting a nuclear test by this weekend is "relatively low", but preparations for an ICBM launch are believed to be "imminent".
According to a military source, South Korea and the U.S. have reportedly detected the movement of vehicles that inject fuel into missiles.
North Korea uses liquid fuel made up of hyper toxic materials, so once the fuel is injected, the missile needs to be fired within a few days.
So it's likely that the North will carry out a major provocation during U.S. President Joe Biden's visit to Seoul this week.
Bae Eun-ji, Arirang News.