North Korea annouced Sunday that it has gound-tested a new high-thrust rocket engine.
The regime's state-run Korean Central News Agency said leader Kim Jong-un oversaw the test at the Sohae launch site near the North’s border with China, and hailed the apparently successful test as a "new birth" for the regime's rocket industry.
The report added that Kim Jong-un declared Saturday as the “March 18th revolution" in recognition of the test, and indicated that the new engine was for long-range missiles.
In his New Year address, Kim Jong-un said North Korea has entered the final stage of preparations for test-launching an intercontinental ballistic missile, raising the possibility Saturday's engine test marks a technological improvement.
Some experts, said compared to an engine test last September, Saturday's high-thrust engine test appears to show an improvement in engine efficiency.
"The additional fuel injector indicates that North Korea could, with the addition of a backup engine, launch a single-stage ballistic missile with one engine."
North Korea's announcement came as U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson ended his East Asian tour, where the regime's missile programs were high on the agenda in talks with Washington's allies.
Kim Hyesung, Arirang News.