Thursday, February 13, 2014

N.Korea conducts engine test for new missile

North Korea appears to have carried out a rocket engine test for its new long-range ballistic missile.

NHK learnt from diplomatic sources that the test took place at a missile launch base at Tongchang-ri in North Korea's northwest on December 25th.

The rocket engine is probably used to transport an intercontinental ballistic missile called the KN-08. The test is reportedly the sixth to have been carried out.

The sources say the North has also recently increased the height of the missile launch pad at Tongchang-ri to 52 meters from 37 meters.

The refitting is apparently designed to ensure the base can handle missiles capable of reaching the US East Coast.

The claims suggest the country is continuing to pursue its nuclear and missile development following the purge and execution of Jang Song Thaek, the once powerful uncle of the country's leader Kim Jong Un.

Joint military drills between South Korea and the United States are scheduled to start on February 24th. Concerns are growing that the drills could trigger military provocations by the North.