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North Korea: 'Rocket Man' Lived Up to His Nickname

Pyongyang says its latest missile test was 'crucial'
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2019 9:00 AM CST
In this June 30, 2019, file photo, U.S. President Donald Trump, left, meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the North Korean side of the border at the village of Panmunjom in Demilitarized Zone.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
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(Newser) – North Korea has done it again, or so it says. Pyongyang announced Saturday it had conducted a "crucial test" at its site for long-range rockets—an apparent chess move with Washington amid their stalled denuclearization talks, NBC News reports. The Korean Central News Agency didn't provide details or photos, per VOA News, but did identify the location as the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground, where Pyongyang said last week it performed a "very important test," seemingly of a rocket engine. The concern is that North Korea—which has conducted more weapons tests in recent weeks—might be improving intercontinental ballistic missiles to possibly strike America.

Tensions are coming from all sides. Domestically, Kim Jong Un has set an end-of-2019 deadline to revive nuclear talks with President Trump. Meanwhile, a UN Security Council meeting over North Korean weapons appeared to irk the authoritarian country at a time when Washington is sending an official to South Korea to discuss the situation, per the BBC. For its part, America conducted a medium-range ballistic missile test in the Pacific Ocean on Thursday. North Korea says it's only trying to deter US nuclear threats while pressuring Washington into relieving economic sanctions, per NBC New York. (Read more North Korea stories.)

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