North Korea said Sunday that it carried out a “very important test” at its long-range rocket launch site that it reportedly rebuilt after having partially dismantled it at the start of denuclearization talks with the United States last year. The announcement comes amid dimming prospects for a resumption of negotiations, with the North threatening to seek “a new way” if it fails to get major US concessions by year’s end. North Korea has said its resumption of nuclear and long-range missile tests depends on the United States, notes the AP. Saturday’s test at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground will have “an important effect on changing the strategic position of (North Korea) once again in the near future,” the North’s Academy of National Defense Science said in a statement, carried by KCNA. North Korea didn't say what the test included.
Kim Dong-yub, an analyst at Seoul's Institute for Far Eastern Studies, said that North Korea likely tested for the first time a solid-fuel engine for an intercontinental ballistic missile. The use of solid fuel increases a weapon’s mobility and reduces the amount of launch preparation time. The North Korean test “is meant to improve military capabilities and to shore up domestic pride and legitimacy,” said Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul. North Korea’s UN ambassador, Kim Song, said Saturday that denuclearization had “already gone out of the negotiation table.” He accused the Trump administration of pursuing a “hostile policy” toward the country “in its attempt to stifle it”—a response to Wednesday’s condemnation by six European countries of North Korea’s 13 ballistic missile launches since May. He accused the Europeans of playing “the role of pet dog of the United States in recent months.” "We regard their behavior as nothing more than a despicable act of intentionally flattering the United States.”
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