Malaysia pursuing other possible suspects in Kim killing

The US has condemned the rocket-engine test as President Donald Trump blasted Kim Jong-un for "acting very, very badly".

North Korea is touting a "great leap forward" in its rocket industry after the successful testing of a new high-thrust engine, state media reported Sunday.

The state-run Korean Central News Agency said the engine would help the country develop "world-level" satellite delivery capabilities, indicating it could potentially be used in a long-range missile.

A US administration official declined to give a specific technical assessment of the test but said it showed North Korea was "150 percent" committed to its weapons programs.

The test was conducted as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is in China on a swing through Asia that has been closely focused on concerns over how to deal with Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programmes.

Tillerson said of the USA and China, "we will work together to see if we can not bring the government in Pyongyang to a place where they want to make a different course - make a course correction and move away from their development of their nuclear weapons".

A geostationary satellite must be propelled to an altitude of 36,000 km and North Korea is showing off its progress in developing a long-range inter-continental ballistic missile that can reach the US east coast, Professor Yang Moo-Jin of the University of North Korean Studies said.

A South Korean analyst said the latest engine test was an ominous development.

Chinese president Xi Jinping and USA secretary of state Rex Tillerson on Sunday pledged to work to strengthen a relationship strained by disputes over North Korea and trade.

The report said the test was a success.

Khalid said the new suspects are in addition to the seven North Koreans already being sought in last month‚à "ôs poisoning death of Kim Jong Nam".

Speaking in South Korea on Friday, Tillerson said that military action against the secretive state was an 'option'. -South Korea war games just south of the Demilitarized Zone and often conducts some sort of high-profile operation of its own in protest.

President Trump commented on leaving his weekend retreat in Florida aboard Air Force One.

Kim Jong-un has said the country is close to a test-launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Previous efforts, including talks and sanctions, have failed. The Japanese government said three out of four missiles launched from North Korea on March 6 landed in the sea less than 200 nautical miles (around 370 kilometers) from Oga.

Kim Dong-yub, another expert on North Korean affairs who is based in South Korea, also signalled that test shows a worrying progress.

  • Julie Sanders