In the lead-up to a visit from President Joe Biden to South Korea to meet with the country’s more hawkish new president, North Korea on Wednesday launched its 13th ballistic missile test of the year.

The test follows last week’s statement from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that the “socialist cause of Korean style will be invincible forever,” as long as his military’s hearts are “strongly pulsating with the blood and precious soul of the revolutionary forerunners.”

The latest missile test was launched from Sunan, near the capital of Pyongyang, and proceeded over the East Sea. Information about the launch came via military officials in South Korea and is considered to be accurate, a U.S. defense official told Just the News.

The missile flew at a speed of Mach 11, reached an altitude of 485 miles, and traveled some 292 miles, the South Korean-based Yonhap news agency reported.

The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) on Wednesday acknowledged the launch, saying that it is “consulting closely” on the matter with regional and allied partners.

“The United States condemns these actions and calls on the DPRK to refrain from further destabilizing acts,” the command wrote in a statement. “While we have assessed that this event does not pose an immediate threat to U.S. personnel, territory, or that of our allies, we will continue to monitor the situation.”  

The test comes amid reports of increasingly nationalistic and bellicose comments from Kim as South Korea prepares to inaugurate a new president next week.

The new president of South Korea, Yoon Suk-yeol, is viewed as being “keenly aware” of the threat from North Korea and as being “more hawk than dove,” the defense official said. “Kim isn’t going to be happy about that.”

The bombastic North Korean leader has recently issued a stream of comments about his country’s military prowess, boasting, for example, that “overwhelming military muscle that no force in the world can provoke, is the lifeline guaranteeing the security of our country.”

Among his comments, Kim vowed to “take measures for further developing the nuclear forces of our state at the fastest possible speed.”

The rhetoric may be a prelude to a possible forthcoming nuclear test from Kim’s Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the defense official said — a correlation that the U.S. State Department has also noted.

“We are aware of reports that the DPRK may be preparing to conduct a nuclear test in the coming months,” State Department spokesperson Jalina Porter said last week. “And such an action not only would be dangerous, but it would also be deeply destabilizing to the region.”

Such a test would “blatantly violate international law as set out in multiple resolutions of the U.N. Security Council,” Porter said, adding that “we urge the DPRK to refrain from further destabilizing activity and instead choose to engage in serious and sustained dialogue.”

Biden will visit South Korea’s new leader and also travel to Japan May 20-24, the White House said.

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