World

North Korea tests new 'high-thrust' rocket engine

PYONGYANG North Korea has conducted a test of a new high-thrust engine at its Tongchang-ri rocket launch station.

Leader Kim Jong Un said the successful test was "a new birth" of its rocket industry, the North's official media said yesterday.

The engine will help North Korea achieve world-class satellite launch capability, KCNA said, indicating the test was of a new type of engine for long-range missiles.

North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests and a series of missile launches, in defiance of United Nations sanctions, and is believed by experts to be working to develop nuclear-warhead missiles that could reach the United States.

KCNA said the test was carried out at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground, where North Korea has conducted long-range rocket tests.

South Korea's military declined to comment.

Washington-based think-tank 38 North said last week satellite imagery indicated activity at the site's vertical engine stand, possibly in preparation for a rocket engine test.

"The rail-mounted environmental shelter has been moved up against the engine test stand since Feb 5, either for maintenance or to position a rocket engine for testing," 38 North said in a note.

KCNA cited Mr Kim as saying the significance of the test will soon be evident.

"He noted that the success made in the current test marked a great event of historic significance... He emphasised that the whole world will soon witness what eventful significance the great victory won today carries," it said. - REUTERS

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