North Korea carries out another rocket engine test

TRIGGER-happy North Korea has conducted another controversial ICBM rocket engine test - just a day after it claimed it was willing to put the brakes on its nuclear programme.

The death of Warmbier has considerably strained tensions between Washington and Pyongyang, who have always been at loggerheads over North Korea's nuclear missile program and the installation of a controversial American missile defense system in South Korea.

Following the launch, Moon said he had "personally confirmed that the people may be at ease" following a series of North Korean missile tests this year alone.

One official said he believed the test had taken place within the past 24 hours.

South Korean officials did not have details about the reported test and declined to comment on the possible nature of the engine.

While President Moon Jae-in watched, the weapon, a type of Hyunmoo-2 missile, blasted off from a test site in Taean, a coastal county southwest of Seoul, the capital, the president's office said in a statement.

In 2015, North Korea's foreign minister made the country's first-ever official visit to India, meeting with Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj. "This was the fourth of six test launches, and the missile will be deployed after two more test launches are assessed", said Blue House spokesperson Park Soo-hyun during the regular press briefing.

North Korea's top envoy to India on Wednesday offered a conditional moratorium on his country's nuclear and missile tests in an apparent bid to hold talks with the United States.

However, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman questioned such calls.

"For instance, if the American side completely stopped large-scale military exercises, temporarily or permanently, then let us talk about how to solve the Korean issue peacefully", he said.

The North Korean diplomat noted in the interview that U.S. President Donald Trump "said there [were] so many options including [military action], so we should be ready [for] both of them, dialogue and militarily". 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".

Still, experts say Pyongyang could still be years away from have a reliable ICBM capability. ICBMs have a minimum range of about 5,500km, but some are created to travel 10,000km or farther.

"Judging from the speed of North Korea's advancements in nuclear and missile technologies I believe they will acquire such capability in the near future".

It was the second such test of the SM-3 Block IIA interceptor, which is being developed by Raytheon.

In February 2012, North Korea agreed to to a temporary moratorium on missile and nuclear tests and a freeze of its uranium-enrichment facilities in exchange for 240,000 metric tons of food aid from the US.

  • Leroy Wright