February 8, 2023

Pinoy Trekker

Pinoy Trekker – We go anywhere

North Korea says it has tested a “high-thrust solid-fuel engine” at the Reuters satellite launch site

By Soo Hyang Choi

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea has been testing a “high-thrust solid fuel engine”, state media reported on Friday, as the isolated country seeks to develop a new strategic weapon and accelerate its nuclear and missile programs.

The test, led by leader Kim Jong Un, was conducted at North Korea’s Sohae Satellite Launching Ground on Thursday, official KCNA news agency said.

The test proved the reliability and stability of the engine and offers a “guarantee for the development of another novel strategic weapon system,” added KCNA.

North Korea has been working to build more solid-fuel missiles that are more stable and can be launched with almost no warning or preparation time.

After overseeing the test, Kim expressed “expectation that another novel strategic weapon will be produced in the shortest possible time,” according to KCNA.

North Korea has conducted an unprecedented number of missile tests this year, including an ICBM capable of reaching the US mainland despite international bans and sanctions.

In March, Kim visited the Sohae site and called for an expansion of the facility, which tested various rocket technologies, including static rocket engines and launch vehicles.

The latest test comes as International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi is in Seoul for talks with South Korean officials, during which he pledged a comprehensive effort to halt North Korea’s nuclear program.

During his meeting with Grossi, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol expressed concern about North Korea’s “race” to advance its nuclear and missile programs and called for the UN agency’s cooperation to deter Pyongyang from further provocations.

South Korean and US officials said the North has completed preparations for a possible nuclear test, which would be its first since 2017.