TOKYO (Sputnik) — South Korea's National Intelligence Service (NIS) said Monday that North Korea has completed preparations for another nuclear test at its Punggye-ri test site, adding that Pyongyang was likely to launch a ballistic missile during the ongoing US-South Korean Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) military drills or on September 9 to commemorate the anniversary of its state's foundation.
"Preparations for the nuclear test have been completed at the second and third tunnels [of Punggye-ri]," the intelligence service's representative told a parliamentary briefing, as quoted by the Yonhap news agency.
The NIS also suggested that North Korea would carry out another missile launch in the coming days either during the UFG drill, or around September 9, marking the Day of the Foundation of the Republic.
"There is the possibility that the North will launch a ballistic missile on the Foundation Anniversary [September 9], and we are preparing for that," the NIS said.
When briefing the parliament on Pyongyang's intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) re-entry technologies, the agency noted that it was "at a low level," based on its analysis of a photo, released by North Korean state-run media.
Despite the improvement of rhetoric over recent days, Washington and Seoul started their joint Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) exercise in South Korea on August 21, which is expected to last until August 31. Pyongyang condemned the drills saying they would only escalate the situation in the region.