S.Korea’s spy agency says North Korea could test new ICBM soon

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South Korean lawmakers, citing intelligence officials, said on Tuesday that North Korea could hold large-scale military drills and test its new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in March or April.

Lawmakers also said on Tuesday after being briefed by the National Intelligence Service (NIS) that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s first child is believed to be a son, and the leader also has a third child whose gender is unknown.

The son has not made a public appearance, the NIS said.

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Kim’s daughter, who is identified as Kim Ju Ae, has been seen in public with the leader on several occasions in recent months, prompting speculation that she is being groomed to be the next leader.

But the South Korean agency believes the most likely explanation behind the series of the daughter’s recent public appearances is that Kim wants to prove the legitimacy of the regime’s fourth generation succession, the lawmakers said.

They said on North Korea’s food situation, the NIS attributed it to the country’s grain policy, distribution problems and the COVID-19 situation but the agency added it is not severe enough to be considered a threat to the regime, citing a report that the country is facing an annual rice shortage of 800,000 tonnes.

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