North Korea conducts rocket engine test

North Korea recently claimed it is closer to testing an ICBM that could potentially hit any target in the continental United States and concerns are growing the military is not ready for a potential attack.

North Korea has tested a rocket engine that could be fitted to an intercontinental ballistic missile, a U.S. official said, in an apparent provocation ahead of a summit between President Donald Trump and the leader of South Korea.

The US official confirmed to AFP that Pyongyang tested a rocket engine on Thursday, on condition of anonymity and without providing further details.

The test follows about a dozen missile launches this year, as well as three engine tests in March.

North Korea is developing nuclear weapons and missiles at an alarming pace with its stated goal of launching an ICBM capable of hitting the United States mainland.

One US official told Reuters the test may have taken place in the last 24 hours.

Chinese diplomats visited Washington this week to discuss...




The US has also ramped up its military presence in the region, conducting drills with Japan as well as South Korea, and is installing a controversial missile defence system in Seoul, known as Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence system (Thaad).

China's top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, told Trump in a meeting at the White House that Beijing was willing to "maintain communication and co-ordination" with the United States in an effort to diffuse tension on the Korean peninsula, according to a statement from China's foreign ministry on Friday.

Still, experts say Pyongyang could still be years away from have a reliable intercontinental ballistic missile capability.

North Korea's state media has not released a relevant report.

Any military solution to the North Korea crisis would be "tragic on an unbelievable scale", Trump's defence secretary, Jim Mattis, said last month.

North Korea has not announced any new rocket engine test yet. According to the report, the test was conducted on Wednesday near the North's Dongchangri missile test site.

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