News   /   Koreas

North Korea conducts another 'crucial test' at satellite launch site

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)
A TV screen shows an image of the Sohae Satellite Launching Station in Tongchang-ri, North Korea, during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, March 6, 2019. (Photo by AP)

North Korea says it conducted yet another “crucial test” intending to use the results to strengthen its "strategic nuclear deterrent”, amid heightened tensions between Pyongyang and Washington, just ahead of a year-end deadline for the US to take a “new path” in its policy toward the country.

Pyongyang announced on Saturday that the test was conducted at the Sohae satellite launch site on Friday, the North’s official news agency KCNA reported.

“The research successes being registered by us in defense science one after another recently will be applied to further bolstering up the reliable strategic nuclear deterrent of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” said KCNA, using the official name of the country.

It cited a spokesman for North Korea's Academy of Defense Science, but did not specify what sort of testing was involved.

The test, the second at the facility in the last week, came ahead of a year-end deadline that the North’s leader Kim Jong-un set for Washington to take a “new path” and change its policy of insisting on Pyongyang’s unilateral denuclearization. Washington has rejected that timeline.

Last week, KCNA said Pyongyang had carried out a "very important" test at the same satellite launch site.

It called the event a "successful test of great significance" which “will have an important effect on changing the strategic position” of the North.

The North did not specify what the test was, but South Korea's defense minister, Jeong Keong-doo, said that it was an engine test.

An analyst at Seoul's Institute for Far Eastern Studies, Kim Dong-yub, said that the North had tested a solid-fuel engine for an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), for the first time.

Earlier this month, CNN reported that based on imagery from a commercial satellite, Pyongyang might be preparing to resume testing engines used to power satellite launchers and ICBMs at the site.

Both the US and South Korea said they were closely monitoring activities at the Sohae site as well as other key North Korean areas.

In a reaction to the developments, US President Donald Trump said on Sunday that Kim risked losing "everything" if he resumed hostility and that his country had to denuclearize.

This prompted the two sides to engage in a war of words which suggested the relative period of calm between Washington and Pyongyang was close to an end.

In response to Trump, a senior North Korean official called him an “impatient, old man,” toward whom the North’s leader might change his view.

Trump has repeatedly described his relationship with Kim as “successful” since they met for the first time 2018 in Singapore. The two met at another summit in Vietnam in an effort to reach a denuclearization agreement, but the summit broke up without an agreement or even a joint statement.

The North has been under multiple rounds of harsh sanctions by the United Nations and the US over its nuclear and missile programs. In spite of those sanctions, it has taken several unilateral steps as signs of goodwill in the course of the diplomacy with the US.

Washington has, nevertheless, failed to offer any sanctions relief in return.

Back in October, the US President once again urged Kim in a Twitter message to “get the deal done,” and meet in a third summit with him. Kim, however, has ruled out any other “useless” summit with Trump, if he receives nothing in return.

Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

Press TV News Roku