Showed signs of preparation for a military parade in Pyongyang

North Korea tests 'high-thrust solid fuel engine'

Image showing Kim's reaction after a ground test of a "high-thrust solid fuel engine".


North Korea has successfully tested a "large thrust solid fuel engine" with the aim of developing a new weapon, according to the official North Korean news agency KCNA.

The test was conducted under the supervision of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, "and it provided a scientific and technological guarantee for the development of a new type of strategic weapon."

Footage of the successful test conducted at the Sohae satellite launch base in Tongchang-ri in the northwest of the country showed the North Korean leader observing the steady launch of the engine that spewed out powerful yellow flames.

Despite the international sanctions imposed on it, Pyongyang continues to enhance its military arsenal, with intercontinental ballistic missiles in particular.

All of these weapons have so far been powered by liquid rocket fuel, but Kim Jong-un has made solid-fuel engines a strategic priority in order to produce more advanced missiles.

Using fuel rockets is more difficult and preparing them takes more time, according to analysts.

These missiles are slower and can be more easily detected and destroyed by the enemy.

In contrast, solid-fuel missiles are "more maneuverable, can be launched more quickly, and can be hidden," says Eric Eisley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul.

He explained that the adoption of this new technology will make the North Korean arsenal "more dangerous."

The engine test constitutes only a first stage, and it is difficult to know where Pyongyang has reached on the road to developing such a missile, according to experts.

"It is difficult to assess the momentum that has been achieved," Joseph Dempsey, a researcher at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, told AFP.

Kim Jong Un said this year that North Korea's adoption of nuclear weapons is "irreversible" and expressed his determination to possess the most powerful nuclear arsenal in the world.

Part of this arsenal will be solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missiles launched from sea or land.

The test comes as the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, visits Seoul for talks with South Korean officials, during which he pledged all-out efforts to stop North Korea's nuclear programme.

And Pyongyang conducted during the current year an unprecedented series of military tests, including the launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile in November, the most advanced so far.

Seoul and Washington alerted months ago of the possibility that North Korea would conduct a new nuclear test, which, if it happened, would be the seventh in its history.

In Seoul, a South Korean military official said yesterday that North Korea has shown signs of preparing for another military parade in Pyongyang, apparently on a major political agenda next year.

"It is difficult to determine the date of the military parade, but we pay great attention to signs that the North is preparing for a military parade in relation to the political schedule next year," according to the South Korean Yonhap news agency, the official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

And the US news site NK News reported earlier, quoting satellite images of Planet Labs, that thousands of soldiers began large-scale military parade training at the Mirim training ground in southeast Pyongyang.

He stated that this military parade could be held on the eighth of January, corresponding to the birthday of North Korean leader Kim, or on the eighth of February, when North Korea celebrates the 75th anniversary of the founding of its Korean People's Army.

Relatedly, the United States and South Korea recently held their sixth consultations on cyber policy in Washington to discuss ways to enhance their cooperation in the field of cyber security and enhance the security of international cyberspace, the US State Department said Thursday.

A statement by the US State Department said that the two sides reaffirmed their commitment to confronting the cyber threats posed by North Korea.

Follow our latest local and sports news and the latest political and economic developments via Google news