Seoul calls Pyongyang’s test a ‘meaningful’ step

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Seoul calls Pyongyang’s test a ‘meaningful’ step

South Korea’s defense ministry said Monday that North Korea’s latest high-thrust rocket engine test was a “meaningful” advance in its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) development program.

The assessment came a day after Pyongyang’s state media announced the successful testing of the new device at a missile site near the border with China, a move viewed as part of the secretive regime’s preparations for another long-range rocket launch.

“It’s assessed that there was meaningful progress in engine efficiency with the test,” a ministry official told reporters, saying it reflects the ministry’s official assessment.

It added that the North’s newly unveiled equipment seems to have one main engine with four back-ups connected.

The North’s leader Kim Jong-un inspected the test conducted at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground on Saturday, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

The South calls the venue the Dongchang-ri site especially for the launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The KCNA quoted Kim as saying, “The success made in the current test marked a great event of historic significance as it declared a new birth of the Juche-based rocket industry.” Juche means self-reliance.

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