North Korea said it successfully conducted a “crucial” test at a long-range projectile launch site and had boosted its nuclear-deterrent capabilities. It didn’t provide any details about the exercise.
The news follows a North Korean announcement last week that it held a “very important test,” without elaborating. South Korea’s military believes the North tested an engine for its ballistic missiles.
Another successful test was conducted at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground from 22:41 to 22:48 on December 13, the state-run Korean Central News Agency said, citing a spokesman for the Academy of Defense Science. The ruling Workers’ Party of Korea’s Central Committee congratulated the officials, according to the report, which didn’t say whether the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, was at the site.
The recent tests have provided “priceless data” that will be used to develop another strategic weapon “for reliably restraining and overpowering the nuclear threat of the US,” Pak Jong Chon, chief of the General Staff of the Korean People’s Army (KPA), said.
South Korean and US military officials are closely monitoring activities in North Korea and analyzing what was tested, Seoul’s Defense Ministry said in a statement, without elaborating.
Pyongyang’s latest tests put further pressure on the US to try to break the deadlock in negotiations between the two countries after working-level talks in Stockholm in October collapsed. North Korea is seeking some form of compensation in return for a promise to denuclearize, and Kim’s regime has unilaterally imposed a year-end deadline for the US and threatened to take a “new path” next year if talks fail.