South Korean Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn urged the country’s military to increase its readiness against any possible provocation from North Korea. Hwang’s comments came Tuesday amid speculation that Pyongyang will likely conduct its fifth nuclear test around the key meeting of its ruling Workers’ Party later this week.
"The military should thoroughly be ready for any kind of North Korean provocation to ensure the safety of the people," Hwang said, during a Cabinet meeting in Seoul, according to Yonhap news agency.
South Korean defense ministry spokesman Moon Sang-gyun told Yonhap Monday that ‘the North would conduct an additional nuclear test and fire off a (mid- or long-range) missile in a blitzkrieg manner” around Pyongyang’s seventh congress, which is set for Friday, the first in over three decades.
North Korea has made several moves to demonstrate its military prowess this year, starting with its fourth nuclear test in January, followed by a long-range rocket launch in February. North Korea's actions have been condemned by the international community while the reclusive country was slapped with harsh sanctions by the United Nations Security Council.