The White House warns that there could be a North Korean nuclear test, or missile test, or both, before or even during President Biden's trip to Japan and South Korea.
U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters Wednesday that Washington is preparing for all contingencies.
"And we are prepared, obviously, to make both short and longer term adjustments to our military posture as necessary to ensure that we are providing both defense and deterrence to our allies in the region and that we're responding to any North Korean provocation."
He explained that the U.S. is coordinating closely with Seoul and Tokyo.
Sullivan also added that he spoke with his Chinese counterpart over the phone Wednesday to discuss the matter.
According to the White House, the two parties mainly focused on regional security issues and non-proliferation.
Regarding the matter, the First Deputy Chief of the Presidential National Security Office of South Korea, Kim Tae-hyo, told reporters on Wednesday that the possibility of North Korea conducting a nuclear test by this weekend is "relatively low", but preparations for an ICBM launch are believed to be "imminent".
A South Korean expert said the North is preparing for a nuclear test, but this might not be carried out right away.
"The cables are installed to light up the tunnel, or to operate ventilation systems. When the cables are removed and a shield is installed, that's when it's ready for a nuclear test. But for now, because the cables are still there, we can tell that preparations are still underway."
Against this backdrop, Seoul adds that if there's a provocation from the North during Biden's visit, there is a "Plan B", which would secure the readiness posture of the combined U.S. and South Korea military forces, even if it requires changing the summit schedule.
Kim Hyo-sun, Arirang News.