South Korea, the United States and Japan began a three-day naval exercise on Friday, aimed at countering North Korea’s missile threats, a South Korean military official said, amid signs Pyongyang may be preparing for a new missile test-launch to test incoming US president-elect Donald Trump’s administration. Aegis-equipped destroyers from the three countries took part in the maritime exercise, the third of its kind after the missile warning exercise was held in June and November last year, the official said. The exercise aims to boosting capabilities to detect and trace incoming missiles, as well as sharing related information among the three countries. The move comes amid speculation that North Korea may launch an intercontinental ballistic missile to coincide with Trump’s inauguration as US president in Washington later on Friday. Earlier in the day, Rodong Sinmun , the official newspaper of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, said that “no matter who says what, our intercontinental rocket will be launched any time from any location determined by the top leadership”. Meanwhile, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported that an ICBM may be launched from the Panghyon airfield in the northwestern city of Kusong, from where North Korea test-fired a Musudan ballistic missile in October last year, which was assessed as a failed launch . Yonhap also said South Korean and US intelligence authorities recently detected signs that North Korea has built two new ICBMs at the Jamjin missile facility in the city of Nampo near the capital Pyongyang, and mounted them onto mobile launchers for test-firing in the near future. The two missiles are estimated to be no longer than 15 meters in length, making them shorter than North Korea’s existing ICBMs – the 19-20 metre-long KN-08 and the 17-18 metre-long KN-14. I was forced to marry a North Korean nuclear scientist and... During a regular media briefing, South Korea’s Unification Ministry spokesman reiterated the country’s assessment that Pyongyang could test-fire an ICBM at any time from any location if the top leadership decides to do so, just as a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman said earlier this month. North Korea may be preparing to launch new intercontinental ballistic missile In response to Pyongyang’s threat, the United States has said it will shoot down any missiles that threaten its territory or that of its allies. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said in a New Year address that his country has entered the final stage of preparing to test-launch the long-range missile. Kim’s regime conducted two nuclear tests and test-launched more than 20 ballistic missiles last year, in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions.