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N. Korea shows no signs of imminent provocation: military

North Korea is showing no signs of carrying out provocations at least so far amid worries that Pyongyang might pursue such action in time for Donald Trump's inauguration, the military here said Saturday.

   Concerns have been growing that the North could conduct missile or nuclear tests to draw attention from Washington on and around the day when the Trump administration takes office. Trump was sworn in as the U.S. president on Friday (local time).

   "There have been no strange developments going on in the North's military" an official of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said. "Nor have there been any signs that its test firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) is imminent."

   He, however, said that the military will not lower its guard since the North could take provocative action anytime.

   Earlier, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said in his New Year's speech that the preparation for test-firing an ICBM is in the final stages, adding that it could be conducted anytime and anywhere.

   Recently, military officials said that North Korea appears to have built two missiles presumed to be ICBMs and placed them on mobile launchers for test firing in the near future.

   On Friday, South Korea, the U.S. and Japan kicked off a naval exercise aimed at countering North Korean missiles amid growing signs that Pyongyang is ready to test-fire an ICBM. The missile warning drill, the third of its kind, will be held until Sunday. (Yonhap)

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