Malaysian Police Identify New Suspects in Kim Jong Nam's Murder

Reports said the test was a success and that the engine would be used for the country's space and satellite-launching programme.

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.

Early this month, North Korea launched four missiles meant to threaten USA bases in Japan.

Since then, North Korea has fired a medium-range missile that appeared to show significant technological advances.

The KCNA added that the test confirmed the engine's qualifications, saying it proved "stable maintenance of indices of all systems such as starting and stopping features" of the high-powered engine, which it called a "Korean-style" incorporation of "indigenous technology". A New York Times story on Saturday said that Kim remains unmoved by Beijing's economic pressure because he clings to nuclear weapons as the only guarantee of safeguarding his power and family dynasty. Experts and government officials believe it is working to develop nuclear-warhead missiles that can reach the US.

Even with Tillerson now in Beijing and scheduled to meet with President Xi Jinping on Sunday, Trump on Friday tweeted: "North Korea is behaving very badly".

During his visit to Seoul, Tillerson admitted that Washington's "strategic patience" policy toward Pyongyang was over.

In Seoul, Mr Tillerson laid out details of the new U.S. plan, saying it would focus on getting China to better enforce United Nations sanctions against North Korea. However, the regime has reportedly refused to scale down its missiles tests.

"I do not deny there are several individuals, including North Koreans, involved in the assassination and we will use legal channels to apprehend them". We are exploring a new range of security and diplomatic measures. The engine appeared smaller than one tested in April past year, and the color of the flame would provide clues about the type of fuel used, said Hanham, the nonproliferation expert.

  • Jon Douglas