North Korea has conducted a successful ground test of a new rocket engine, the country’s state media said Tuesday.
In the test carried out under the guidance of leader Kim Jong-un, “thrust and other technological indexes of the engine accurately reached the estimated values and its operational system remained stable during 200 seconds-long working time,” the North’s official Central News Agency (KCNA) said in an English-language dispatch.
After reviewing the rocket engine’s performance at the Sohae Space Center in the North's western region, Kim asked officials, scientists and technicians “to round off the preparations for launching the satellite as soon as possible on the basis of the successful test,” the KCNA reported.
Kim also called for more satellite launches for different purposes, saying the goal is to turn the communist country into a possessor of geostationary satellites in the next several years, the KCNA report said. The media outlet said the leader expressed great satisfaction with the results of the test.
It was Kim’s first reported public appearance at a military-related event since the country conducted its fifth and most powerful nuclear test on September 9. The engine test comes amid speculation that North Korea might launch another long-range missile or engage in other provocative acts early next month to celebrate the 68th anniversary of the founding of ruling Worker's Party of Korea on October 10.
Earlier this month, North Korea set off its most powerful nuclear blast to date, saying it had mastered the ability to mount a warhead on a ballistic missile and ratcheting up a threat that its rivals and the United Nations have been powerless to contain.
Furthermore, North Korea has completed preparations for another nuclear test, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency recently reported, citing South Korean government sources who said the North may use a previously unused tunnel at its mountainous test site.