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In recent months, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has made tests of his country’s increasingly powerful and capable missiles a routine matter. In response, U.S. President Joe Biden — at least in part because of his focus on the war in Ukraine — has largely maintained an approach resembling the Obama administration’s policy of “strategic patience,” a strategy that amounted to waiting for Pyongyang to come to the negotiating table.

Biden’s administration, however, could soon find that approach hard to sustain, with senior officials from the U.S., South Korea and Japan concluding that a North Korean nuclear test — its first in nearly five years — is likely imminent.

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