Published: Sat, June 24, 2017
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

North Korea conducts another rocket engine test

The U.S. government source believes the rocket engine could propel an ICBM over 55-hundred kilometers and that the goal 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.

Responding to Yonhap News Agency's query, a USA defense official also said, "We watch North Korea's actions closely".

Political science professor Yoo Ho-Yeol at Korea University said the test was "a carefully calibrated act of provocation ahead of the summit".

North Korea recently claimed it is closer to testing an ICBM that could potentially hit any target in the continental United States and concerns are growing the military is not ready for a potential attack.

"The North has been building up missile capability for decades".

The test is the latest in a series carried out this year as North Korea steps up its weapons programme amid heightened tension with the US.

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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Outside observers say Pyongyang's space programme is a fig leaf for weapons tests.

South Korea said Friday that it is closely monitoring North Korea's missile development in cooperation with the United States amid a news report that the North has conducted another rocket engine test.

Pyongyang has tested a flurry of rockets in the recent past, sending tensions with the U.S. - which has been trying to discourage its missile programme - ratcheting up.

China's top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, told Trump in a meeting at the White House that Beijing was willing to "maintain communication and coordination" with the United States in an effort to defuse tension on the Korean peninsula, according to a statement from China's Foreign Ministry on Friday.

South Korea's unification ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs, reiterated an assessment by military authorities here that the North is continuing activities aimed at advancing its missile capabilities.

Trump has made halting the North Korean nuclear threat his number one foreign policy priority.

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