North Korea fired an unidentified projectile into the Sea of Japan on Saturday, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said.
This comes three days after Pyongyang launched a missile, while warnings are growing that it may conduct a nuclear test.
And Galina Porter, deputy spokesman for the US State Department, said Friday that US assessments indicate that North Korea is preparing the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, and that it may be ready to conduct a nuclear test there at the latest this month.
North Korea recently ramped up weapons tests and resumed intercontinental ballistic missile tests this year for the first time since 2017.
North Korea has not tested a nuclear bomb since 2017, but US and South Korean officials have been saying for weeks that there are indications of new construction at Punggye-ri, the North’s only known nuclear test site, and that North Korea may soon test another one.
The Bunge-ri site has been officially closed since 2018, and Porter’s statement that the site could be ready this month is more specific about a possible time for a test, the first recorded statement of its kind by a US official.
Last week, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed to speed up development of his country’s nuclear arsenal while attending a massive military parade as talks on denuclearization remained stalled with the United States.