World News

North Korea tests rocket engine, possibly for ballistic missile, say US officials

North Korea tests rocket engine, possibly for ballistic missile, say US officials

South Korean President Moon Jae-in watched his military test-fire a ballistic missile on Friday, after a string of North Korean missile tests were blamed for raising tensions on the Korean Peninsula. "But we will not comment on intelligence", Navy commander Gary Ross said in a emailed statement, declining to confirm the rocket engine test.

United States is, on the other hand, pressured to freeze the missile tests in North Korea.

Moon, a liberal who took office in May after a decade of conservative rule in South Korea, supports engagement with North Korea, but was quoted after the launch as saying that "dialogue is only possible when we have a strong military, and engagement policies are only possible when we have the security capability to dominate North Korea".

American officials said agreeing to decrease military presence in the Korean peninsula in order to freeze their nuclear and ballistic tests did not work out during the previous instances USA agreed with the proposal.

Having witnessed the launch 200 kilometers (124 miles) southwest of Seoul, Moon said he had "personally confirmed that the people may be at ease" following a series of North Korean missile tests this year alone.

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Calling North Korea the "top security threat" to the United States, Tillerson said China had a "diplomatic responsibility to exert much greater economic and diplomatic pressure on the regime if they want to prevent further escalation in the region".

"When the world says that it hopes China can do even more, I don't know what "do even more" refers to", Geng told a daily news briefing in Beijing on Friday."We've said many times that China is making unremitting efforts to resolve the Korean peninsula nuclear issue, and plays an active and constructive role", he said.

Experts however say North Korea could still be years away from possessing any reliable ICBM capability, reports said. 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 has conducted five nuclear tests since 2006, including two past year, the report said.

Any military solution to the North Korea crisis would be "tragic on an unbelievable scale", Trump's defence secretary, Jim Mattis, said last month.


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