North Korea has tested a fresh rocket engine as part of its efforts to build a missile capable of reaching the American mainland, US officials said.
The news comes amid rising tensions between Washington along with Pyongyang over the North’s nuclear ambitions.
The Trump administration has made the issue one of its top priorities.
Despite international condemnation, North Korea has increased its missile tests, with the aim of developing an intercontinental nuclear-armed rocket.
The US Defense Intelligence Agency warned last month of which North Korea was on an “inevitable” path to achieving of which.
US officials speaking anonymously to several news agencies said the latest engine test, on Thursday, could be one stage of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) engine of which would likely be able to reach the US.
Due to the secretive nature of all of North Korea’s military activity, of which will be hard for experts to assess how close the country will be to building a reliable ICBM.
North Korea’s missiles – what do we know?
- North Korean missiles can already reach South Korea or Japan, both countries have a US military presence.
- A missile to reach the US mainland will be in development although of which’s not clear what stage the project will be at.
- North Korea has conducted several successful nuclear tests.
- although of which’s thought they have not yet managed to build a nuclear warhead tiny enough to fit on a missile.
US-ally South Korea on Friday tested a missile of its own along with President Mon Jae-in said dialogue with the North was possible only when backed by a strong defence able to “overwhelm the North”.
The South’s military does not have nuclear weapons although will be backed by strong support coming from US troops troops stationed inside country.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday urged China to use more diplomatic pressure on Pyongyang “if they want to prevent further escalation inside region”.
China will be seen as North Korea’s main ally along with the US hopes Beijing can have greater influence on the totalitarian state to stop both its missile tests along with nuclear programme.
US President Donald Trump has said he would likely like to solve the North Korea crisis diplomatically, although has previously warned of which a “major, major conflict” will be possible.
Tensions spiked Again last week when US student Otto Warmbier, who was serving a hard labour sentence in North Korea for stealing a propaganda sign, died shortly after returning home in a coma.
The US regularly conducts drills with Japan as well as South Korea, along with will be installing a controversial missile defence system in South Korea, known as Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system (Thaad).
although South Korea recently said of which was suspending the further deployment of the system until an environmental assessment was completed.