SEOUL, Sept. 18 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has neared the "final stage" of developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), Seoul's defense ministry said Monday, warning of additional provocations aimed at further advancing its nuclear and missile programs.
In a briefing to the National Assembly, the ministry also explained that the North's launch Friday of an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) appears intended to flaunt its ability to strike U.S. bases designed to augment U.S. troops in case of a contingency.
"(North Korea) has neared the final stage of securing ICBM capabilities," the ministry said in the briefing.
"(The North) will continue such provocations as additional nuclear tests and missile launches to secure its nuclear capabilities. ... The Punggye-ri nuclear test site remains ready for a (new) test," it added.
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