Korea keeps close tabs on NK missile development

The disclosure of the engine test came a day after the United States pressed China to exert more economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea to help rein in its nuclear and missile programmes, during a round of high-level talks in Washington.

The US, meanwhile, is ramping up capabilities to defend against the threat from North Korea, staging its first-ever successful test to intercept an incoming intercontinental ballistic-type missile in May.

Earlier this week, North Korea conducted the test of a rocket engine that could be seen as part of the North's program to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), Reuters reported, citing unnamed us officials.

USA spy satellites have detected new activity at North Korea's underground nuclear test site that involve some modifications around one of the tunnel entrances to an underground test area, US officials said.

On March 18th, North Korean media reported that leader Kim Jong-un observed a successful testing of a homegrown ICBM engine.

President Trump has signalled that North Korea's military ambitions could trigger a "major, major conflict".

Calling North Korea the "top security threat" to the United States, Tillerson said China had a "diplomatic responsibility to exert much greater economic and diplomatic pressure on the regime if they want to prevent further escalation in the region".

The news of the North's latest rocket engine test, possibly for the second or third stage of a missile, came amid concern that it has almost obtained full technology for an ICBM capable of hitting the US mainland.

Pyongyang has tested a flurry of rockets in the recent past, sending tensions with the USA - which has been trying to discourage its missile programme - ratcheting up.

But a test on June 21 of a new capability being developed by the US and Japan to defend against shorter-range missiles failed to hit its target, the US Missile Defence Agency said on Thursday. According to the report, the test was conducted on Wednesday near the North's Dongchangri missile test site.

  • Jon Douglas