North Korea rocket-engine test shows 'meaningful' progress: South Korea

Remigio Civitarese
Marzo 21, 2017

"They are from North Korea and we believe they are involved in the case, and we are looking for them", he told reporters after chairing a meeting on upgrading the police's central computer crime investigation unit at Le Grandeur Palm Resort, Senai.

He said the equipment tested "appears to have one main engine with four auxiliary engines connected to it". These may be due to the incorporation of the verniers, but we should not rule out the possibility that the core engine itself may be different. Analysts called the test a "significant step forward for Pyongyang's ICBM program".

The test was conducted as U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was in China on a swing through Asia that has been closely focused on concerns over how to deal with Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs.

In a rare admission, South Korea has acknowledged that North Korea's latest rocket engine test was a major improvement.

Relations between Malaysia and North Korea have deteriorated sharply since Kim's death, with each expelling the other's ambassador. "China has done little to help", said the US President.

North Korean leader Kim said in January his country was close to test-launching an ICBM. "A missile has been launched".

While building ever better long-range missiles and smaller nuclear warheads to pair with them, North Korea has marked a number of successes in its space program. In early March, according to The Independent, North Korea vowed to "mercilessly foil the nuclear war racket of the aggressors with its treasured nuclear sword". "It is also unlikely that such a first-generation nuclear weapon would be capable of surviving the unavoidable 50 G deceleration during warhead reentry from a range of almost 10,000 kilometers (6,200 miles)", they wrote.

The test was conducted at the Sohae launch site and meant to gauge the thrust power, and the safety and control features of the new engine design.

South Korea's military declined to comment.

He cautioned against underestimating the country's capabilities, pointing to recent submarine launches.

Two US defense officials told CNN Monday that the rocket engine North Korea tested Sunday could possibly be used in an eventual intercontinental ballistic missile.

"If they elevate the threat of their weapons program to a level that we believe requires action, that option is on the table", the top USA diplomat said in a comment widely interpreted to refer to the possibility of pre-emptive military force. Toner said when asked if Tillerson won any assurances from China to exercise more pressure on the North.

Graham added that the value of such testing for internal propaganda purposes should also not be ignored. If West Germany had some uncomfortable moments taking in East Germany after two generations of Russian-style communism, how good a fit will North Koreans be to the technologically advanced South Korea?

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