Korean leader observes missile test amid North's threats

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.

Pyongyang tested a new rocket engine that can be installed on an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), Fox News reported on Thursday, citing unnamed United States officials.

South Korean officials did not have details about the reported test and declined to comment on the possible nature of the engine. Along similar lines, Moon also declared, "What I wish to say is that the new administration's announcement of the obviously necessary environmental impact assessment procedures was a clear decision given public opinion in South Korea". Following two more tests, the ballistic missile would be deployed.

Moon said he believes that dialogue, engagement and talks with Pyongyang would be possible only when South Korea has a strong capability for defence and security that will overpower North Korea's Kim Jong-un.

South Korea's military said Friday it is confirming whether North Korea conducted another rocket engine test on Wednesday, following a report from Fox News that the Kim Jong Un regime had tested a device in a region on the western coast of the peninsula.

The United States has tried for years to discourage South Korea from developing longer-range ballistic missiles in keeping with the Missile Technology Control Regime, a voluntary global arms-control pact.

Another US official was quoted as saying that increased activity was detected at North Korea's sole nuclear test site in recent days.

"There are more people and more cars but nobody knows what that means", said the official.

The continental United States is around 5,600 miles (9,000 km) from North Korea.

He is scheduled to meet with President Trump in Washington this month to discuss a joint strategy on how to stop the North's pursuit of nuclear weapons.

While the initial development of MOKV is aimed at configuring the "kill vehicle" for a GBI, there is early thinking about integrating the technology onto a Standard Missile-3, or SM-3, an interceptor missile also able to knock incoming ICBMs out of space.

The head of the US Defense Intelligence Agency told Congress last month that North Korea, if left unchecked, was on an "inevitable" path to obtaining a nuclear-armed missile capable of striking the US mainland. A previous test in February was successful.

  • Leroy Wright