North Korea conducts another rocket engine test

by Garry Watts June 24, 2017, 0:06

"South Korea is closely monitoring the situation under the collaboration with the US", said Lee Eugene, vice ministry spokesperson, at a regular press briefing.

The U.S. government source believes the rocket engine could propel an ICBM over 55-hundred kilometers and that the objective of the engine is to target the U.S. The source added that the recent engine tested could be seen as the smallest stage of a three-stage ICBM engine - in other words, the final piece of the puzzle.

If confirmed, the North's move marked the first time since March that it carried out a ground test of a new high-thrust rocket engine.

The news of another rocket engine test by Pyongyang comes as an USA official said on Wednesday there were signs of increased activity at North Korea's lone nuclear test site.

Moon told Reuters in an exclusive interview on Thursday that strong new sanctions would be needed if the North conducted a new nuclear test or an intercontinental ballistic missile test and that he planned to call on Chinese President Xi Jinping to play a greater role in reining in Pyongyang's arms program.

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The rocket test was allegedly conducted on Wednesday at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station, where similar tests of the rocket technology took place on three occasions in March.

The US has also ramped up its military presence in the region, conducting drills with Japan as well as South Korea, and is installing a controversial missile defence system in Seoul, known as Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence system (Thaad).

North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests since 2006, including two past year, the report said. In September 2016, Pyongyang carried out another nuclear test, while more than 20 missiles were test-fired during the year.

China's top diplomat met Trump at the White House on Thursday, where he said Beijing was willing to keep working with Washington to defuse tensions on the Korean peninsula, China's foreign ministry said. Intercontinental ballistic missiles have a minimum range of about 5,500km but some are created to travel 10,000km or farther.

North Korea has not announced any new rocket engine test yet.

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