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N. Korea ready for more missile, nuclear tests: S. Korean spy agency

South Korea's spy agency said Monday it believes that North
Korea is ready to carry out another nuclear test at any time, and may
test-launch an intercontinental ballistic missile again around key
anniversaries including one at the weekend.

The National Intelligence Service said during a briefing to
parliament's intelligence committee that analysis based on two of the
four tunnels of the North's Punggye-ri nuclear test site in the
northeast showed that a nuclear test is always possible, according to
lawmakers who attended the briefing.

Tensions remain high on the Korean Peninsula following
Pyongyang's sixth and most powerful to date nuclear test on Sunday,
sparking calls for stronger sanctions against North Korea, which
continues to defy international warnings not to launch missiles or
nuclear tests.

Citing the spy agency's assessment, Yonhap News Agency reported
that North Korea may fire an ICBM "on a standard trajectory toward
the North Pacific around its key anniversary."

The agency told the committee that the ICBM may be fired around
Sept. 9, the anniversary of North Korea's founding, or Oct. 10, the
anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea.

"There is a possibility that the North would fire an ICBM on a
standard trajectory," the agency was quoted as saying by lawmakers,
according to Yonhap.

According to the lawmakers, who told the media about the
agency's assessment during the closed-door session, the latest
nuclear test took place in the same tunnel as that of the second to
fifth nuclear tests, and there is information that the tunnel has

But the intelligence agency said that it is closely watching
relevant activities, as there are other tunnels that could be used to
carry out nuclear tests.

The lawmakers said the test is estimated to have had a yield of
around 50 kilotons. Whether North Korea successfully detonated a
hydrogen bomb, as it claims, is still being investigated.

North Korea has repeatedly defied international warnings to
launch missiles. Pyongyang fired two ICBM tests, both in July, on a
lofted trajectory. According to Yonhap, the North fired them on a
"lofted angle to prevent them from crossing over other countries
including Japan."

Last month, Pyongyang fired an "intermediate-range Hwasong-12"
ballistic missile, which crossed over Japan before landing into the
Pacific Ocean. (Sept. 4)