Kim Jong Un
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his visit to Samjiyon county in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency, Nov. 28, 2016. REUTERS/KCNA

North Korea could test-launch an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) to mark the late leader Kim Jong Il’s birthday on Feb. 16, South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported Wednesday, citing a researcher on North Korean affairs. Kim Jong Il is Kim Jong Un’s father.

Earlier this month, Pyongyang threatened to test the ICBM — capable of reaching the U.S. mainland — from any location and at any time. This triggered concerns in the U.S. and South Korea. According to reports, the launch was said to coincide with U.S. President Donald Trump’s inauguration. However, the country did not make any such test that day or any other day this month.

"Given the North Korean regime's remarks and conditions of its technical preparedness, the North is highly likely to go ahead with an ICBM test firing ahead of the 75th anniversary of Kim Jong Il’s birth on Feb. 16," Cheong Seong-chang, a senior researcher at the Sejong Institute, said, according to Yonhap.

Tensions between Washington and Pyongyang as well as China could also increase because the U.S. and South Korea plan to deploy the Terminal-High Altitude Area Defense in the Korean Peninsula, Cheong said. Furthermore, the Trump administration is likely to pressure the North and China by adopting secondary sanctions designed to punish Chinese companies conducting business with the North, he noted.

"It is highly likely that [they] would push ahead with a launch although it may ultimately depend on how the Trump administration reacts, China's pressure or internal political conditions of South Korea," according to the senior researcher. "In case of a nuclear test, the North has always went ahead with them even though they sometimes got delayed."

Separately, 38 North think tank reported Tuesday that North Korea’s Kalma Ballistic Missile Test Site near an airport was being prepared to test an ICBM.

"Moreover, Kalma might be a logical choice since it: 1) has been designed and previously used to test Musdan IRBMs, also a road-mobile missile like the new North Korean ICBMs; 2) can easily be supported by the infrastructure of the Kalma International Airport; and 3) like previous failed Musudan tests, a catastrophic failure of an ICBM would not impact North Korean soil," 38 North reported.