WASHINGTON, March 22 (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un does not appear poised to carry out a nuclear test during U.S.-South Korea military exercises, but the United States is staying vigilant, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency said on Wednesday.
U.S. officials have warned for nearly a year that North Korea may resume nuclear testing for the first time since 2017, a move that would be seen as a serious provocation by the United States, South Korea and Japan.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and other officials warned of that possibility in May 2022 ahead of President Joe Biden's trip to Asia.
"I have been waiting for that as well," Lieutenant General Scott Berrier told reporters at DIA headquarters. "There are a bunch of different factors that play into (Kim's) decision calculus on that. And there are a bunch of things that we watch in terms of indications and warning. Those two haven't aligned."
Berrier said Kim could have opted to time a nuclear test to coincide with the ongoing Freedom Shield drills by the U.S. and South Korean militaries. The 11-day exercise is set to conclude on Thursday.
"It doesn't look like he's going to do that," Berrier said. "But he will uncork that at a time and place of his choosing, which is something we'll be watching for very, very carefully."