North Korea leader guides ground test for heavy-lift, solid-fuel rocket engine

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Pyongyang, March 24 (IANS) The top leader of North Korea Kim Jong Un has guided a ground test for heavy-lift, solid-fuel rocket engine and its separation, the country’s official news agency KCNA reported Thursday.

The test was aimed at testing the structural safety and the thrust of the newly developed rocket engine and gauging the working specification of heat separation system, Xinhua quoted KCNA as saying.

The test proved successful. The top leader, who was satisfied with the result, said this test helped boost the power of ballistic rockets and guaranteed achievement of goals for national defense science and technology this year.

Kim emphasised that the test of the newly designed rocket engine and its separation is “of historical and strategic importance” as the engine is a product of self-reliance and self-development.

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On Monday, Kim guided a test firing of new-type, large-caliber multiple rocket launcher, the second time he has watched the test firing of the newly developed rocket launching system in a month.

On March 3, Kim ordered the military to get nuclear warheads ready for use when needed at any time when he guided the test firing of the new-type rocket launcher for the first time.

On March 10, the North Korea’s top leader told all nuclear strike means of the strategic force to be ready for action when he watched a firing drill of ballistic rockets, which the Republic of Korea said were two short-range Scud missiles.

These moves by Pyongyang came amid escalated tensions on the Korean Peninsula after South Korea and the US started their joint annual war games “Key Resolve” and “Foal Eagle” on March 7. The Key Resolve drill ended Friday, but the Foal Eagle field training exercise would last until April 30.

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