US Expects More Missile, Nuclear Testing by North Korea

Recent Movements Raise Speculation About Imminent Tests

With tensions between the US and North Korea always rising in the first quarter of every year, only to fall off when North Korean forces are redeployed to help plant crops, there is still time for North Korea to launch another provocative round of tests for either missiles or their nuclear weapons program, and US officials believe such tests are likely imminent.

Officials quoted by CNN say that the US has deployed a growing number of surveillance satellites over North Korea to track equipment movements that might signal such tests, and that North Korea is moving equipment to unusual, previously unused locations, which they think might be a sign they’re going to try to test from places less covered by the satellites.

At the same time, they concede it isn’t unusual for North Korea to move equipment and missile launchers around with no rhyme nor reason, just to confuse the US about what they might be up to. That means it’s possible nothing is actually imminent at all.

The timing may support such a test being likely, however, as the planting season isn’t so far away in North Korea, and with both sides liking to get the last laugh in their annual dust-ups, there’s not a lot of time left to get such tests done before they’ll be done with high-profile wrangling until next winter.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.