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(LEAD) N. Korea claims success in new ICBM engine test

All News 07:40 April 09, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS background)

SEOUL, April 9 (Yonhap) -- North Korea claimed Saturday that it has successfully conducted a ground test of a
new engine for an inter-continental ballistic missile, the latest in a series of Pyongyang's claims of progress in its nuclear and missile programs.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un issued an order to conduct the "jet test of a new type high-power engine of inter-continental ballistic rocket and personally came to the Sohae Space Center to guide the test," the Korean Central News Agency said.

"The great success made in the test provided a firm guarantee for mounting another form of nuclear attack upon the U.S. imperialists and other hostile forces and made it possible to have access to more powerful means capable of reacting to nukes in kind," KCNA quoted Kim as saying.

"Now the DPRK can tip new type inter-continental ballistic rockets with more powerful nuclear warheads and keep any cesspool of evils in the earth including the U.S. mainland within our striking range and reduce them to ashes so that they may not survive in our planet," Kim said.

He also stressed the need to diversify nuclear attack means at a higher level to cope with the ever-more
increasing nuclear threats and arbitrariness of the U.S. imperialists and thus decisively counter nukes in kind, KCNA said.

It was the latest in a series of claims of breakthroughs in the North's nuclear and missile programs, including miniaturizing nuclear warheads to fit on an ICBM, mastering missile atmospheric re-entry technology and developing a solid-fuel rocket engine.

These claims came as Pyongyang has been trying to assert the leadership of the young leader in the run-up to a rare meeting of the ruling Workers' Party set for May. Analysts say the claims of breakthroughs in weapons programs would be used as a manifestation of his leadership.

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