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South Korea’s Defense Ministry on Monday warned that North Korea appeared to be planning a future missile launch, possibly of an ICBM, to show off its claimed ability to target the United States with nuclear weapons, though it was unclear when it might happen.

The South also fired missiles into the sea Monday to simulate an attack on the North’s main nuclear test site, a day after Pyongyang detonated its largest nuclear test explosion to date.

In addition, Seoul said Monday it would temporarily deploy four launchers for a U.S. THAAD missile defense system once it finished an environmental impact assessment, the Reuters news agency reports.

China strongly opposes the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, saying its powerful radar can probe deep into its territory, posing a security threat, Reuters notes.

The South Korean news agency, Yonhap, reported Monday that Washington and Seoul were discussing deploying an American aircraft carrier and strategic bombers to the region.


U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis warned the North on Sunday that, “Any threat to the United States or its territories, including Guam or our allies, will be met with a massive military response – a response both effective and overwhelming.”