North Korea conducts another rocket engine test

The North Korean regime will closely follow the meeting to gauge Seoul and Washington's future course of action concerning Pyongyang's pursuit of nuclear arsenal and missile development, he told AFP.

Pyongyang tested a new rocket engine that can be installed on an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), Fox News reported on Thursday, citing unnamed U.S. officials.

Citing unnamed USA officials, Reuters reports that Pyongyang may have been testing the last stage engine of an ICBM.

The test is the latest in a series carried out this year as North Korea steps up its weapons programme amid heightened tension with the US.

News of the test came one day after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged China, Pyongyang's sole ally, to put more pressure on the North to rein in its atomic weapons and ballistic missile programmes. However, experts have said that Pyongyang could still be years away from producing a reliable ballistic missile.

Rocket engines are easily re-purposed for use in missiles.

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The rocket test was allegedly conducted on Wednesday at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station, where similar tests of the rocket technology took place on three occasions in March.

China's top diplomat met Trump at the White House on Thursday, where he said Beijing was willing to keep working with Washington to defuse tensions on the Korean peninsula, China's foreign ministry said.

On March 18th, North Korean media reported that leader Kim Jong-un observed a successful testing of a homegrown ICBM engine. ICBMs have a minimum range of about 3,400 miles (5,500 km), but some are created to travel 6,200 miles (10,000 km) or farther.

North Korea however did not publicise details of the test; it is usually quick to do so with successful ones.

But a test on June 21 of a new capability being developed by the US and Japan to defend against shorter-range missiles failed to hit its target, the US Missile Defence Agency said on Thursday.

If confirmed, the North's move marked the first time since March that it carried out a ground test of a new high-thrust rocket engine.

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