March 21, 2017 12:21
North Korea made "big progress" in intercontinental ballistic missile technology with its recent engine thrust test, the Defense Ministry here said Monday.
But a ministry spokesman told reporters more analysis of the precise thrust power and potential future applications is needed. The ministry speculates that the new rocket engine consists of a main engine and four auxiliary ones, the spokesman added.
North Korea hailed the test as a milestone in "satellite" technology, which is usually code for intercontinental missile development since the technology for space rockets is more or less the same.
Military authorities believe the engine is an improved version of the "Paektusan" rocket, whose high-thrust engine that was first tested last September. At the time, the North claimed that the engine had 80 tons of thrust power, which has presumably been increased with the subsidiary engines.
Supposing the North's various technological advances can be combined and applied, it could soon be capable of delivering nuclear warheads of several hundred kilograms to the U.S. mainland, though that would require four of the new engines.
Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump condemned North Korean leader Kim Jong-un over the new rocket engine test. "He's acting very, very badly," Trump said according to the Politico website.
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