North Korea heralded the successful development of a new “high-thrust engine” during a visit to the country’s rocket test site by leader Kim Jong Un, state media said Sunday.
The high-thrust engine was developed by Kim’s scientists at the Academy of the National Defence Science. Police said the other three men are believed to be hiding in the North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur. “In the test, all systems were kept safe as their technical indicators precisely arrived at their predicted values, and it was also confirmed that structural reliability had been adequately maintained”, the newspaper reported, declaring the test to have been a success.
Pyongyang’s Saturday test is the second of its kind in the past year that has been publicly revealed.
The last ground test of a high-powered rocket engine was in September a year ago, which was also observed by Mr. Kim.
“Some of these technologies which the North Koreans are including in their rocket expansion program actually have to do with a covert method of firing missiles without being detected in advance of actually exploding the devices”, Hertling said. The announcement indicated Pyongyang was closer to making a missile capable of flying across the Pacific.
Experts cited by South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency suggested the test was similar to an experiment last September, but the flame shown on the North’s latest footage indicated Pyongyang may have an engine capable of blasting a weapon as far as the USA mainland. Compared to a photo from the September test, the flame appears more robust this time. Nor is Pyongyang’s threats to use nuclear weapons against the United States.
The test launch comes after Kim Jong-un threatened to unleash a “merciless” attack on America and South Korea if joint military exercises between the two countries continued.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who is on his first official trip to Asia this week, is now in China after visiting Japan and South Korea.
The announcement’s timing appeared meant to sour the visit to China by Tillerson, who warned on Saturday after talks with his counterpart Wang Yi tensions on the Korean Peninsula had reached a “dangerous level”.
The US and China have pledged to work together to get the North to take “a different course” and move away from its weapons programmes.
“Any chance for dialogue must be seized, as long as there’s hope”, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in Beijing. Juche, or self-reliance, refers to the communist state’s official ideology.
Joshua Pollack, of the Washington-based Nonproliferation Review, said the design with four verniers, or steering nozzles, was familiar in the North’s older, long-range rockets launched to deliver objects previously but said it could be the second stage of a missile, not the first.
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