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North Korea’s Kim Jong-un guides rocket engine test

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This undated picture released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on September 13, 2016, shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspecting Farm No. 1116 under KPA Unit 810 at an undisclosed location in North Korea. (Photos by AFP)

North Korea has successfully ground tested a new high-power rocket engine, saying it will be used for launching geostationary satellites.

Pyongyang ‘s official KCNA news agency made the announcement on Monday, and added that the test was supervised by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the country's Sohae satellite-launching site.

After the test, Kim urged engineers and scientists to start "preparations for launching the satellite as soon as possible."

He also called for more rocket launches that would turn the North into "a possessor of geostationary satellites in a couple of years to come." 

KCNA noted that the new rocket will give the country "sufficient carrier capability for launching various kinds of satellites, including Earth observation satellite at a world level."

The test is but the latest in North Korea’s missile related activities. On September 9, it conducted a nuclear warhead explosion -- its fifth -- saying it was meant to counter US hostility. In January, North Korea said it had successfully detonated a hydrogen bomb, and vowed to build up its nuclear program as deterrence against potential aggression from the US and its regional allies.

This undated file photo released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on July 21, 2016 shows a missile fired during a drill by Hwasong artillery units of the Strategic Force of the Korean People's Army.

A month later, Pyongyang launched a long-range rocket, which it said placed an earth observation satellite into orbit. Washington and Seoul denounced it as a cover for an intercontinental ballistic missile test.

North Korea says it will not give up on its nuclear “deterrence” unless Washington ends its hostile policy toward Pyongyang and dissolves the US-led command in South Korea. Thousands of US soldiers are stationed in South Korea and Japan.

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