North Korea Tests Rocket Engine Believed to Be for ICBM

This photo carried by North Korea's Rodong Sinmun newspaper on May 15, 2017, shows the North's firing of a new intermediate-range ballistic missile, called the Hwasong-12.

One of the tests, which took place at the Sohae satellite launch facility, was hailed as a "great leap forward" by North Korea state media.

Experts however say North Korea could still be years away from possessing any reliable ICBM capability, reports said.

On condition of anonymity, the official said Thursday the US believed the drill could be the smallest stage of an ICBM rocket engine.

USA officials tell FOX the test could be used for a future inter-continental ballistic missile capable of hitting the United States or for a new rocket engine to put a satellite into space. "But we will not comment on intelligence", Navy commander Gary Ross said in a emailed statement, declining to confirm the rocket engine test.

The news of another rocket engine test by Pyongyang comes as an U.S. official said on Wednesday there were signs of increased activity at North Korea's lone nuclear test site.

"When the world says that it hopes China can do even more, I don't know what "do even more" refers to", Geng told a daily news briefing in Beijing on Friday.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday witnessed the test-firing of a home-grown ballistic missile to showcase the country's defence capability against Pyongyang.

"We've said many times that China is making unremitting efforts to resolve the Korean peninsula nuclear issue, and plays an active and constructive role", he said.

Moon's visit was aimed as a warning against North Korean provocations, the spokesman said.

South Korea began developing Hyunmoo-2 after a 2012 agreement with its US ally to increase the range of its weapons by 800 kilometers (497 miles) and raise the warhead limit to 500 kilograms (1,102 pounds).

One of those people is Wong Maye-E, the leading North Korea photographer for the Associated Press, which set up a bureau in downtown Pyongyang in 2012. The previous intercept test, conducted in February, had been successful.

  • Leroy Wright