Pyongyang, Mar 20: North Korea on Sunday has conducted a ground jet test of a newly developed high-thrust missile engine at its Tongchang-ri rocket launch station.
According to sources, the test was conducted at North Korea's north-west facility, where the country has been launching rockets to put satellites into orbit.
A new type of rocket engine was used in the test for long-range missiles. Claiming the test to be successful, Kim Jong-un said it was a new birth of the nation's rocket industry.
"The development and completion of a new-type high-thrust engine will help consolidate the scientific and technological foundation to match the world-level satellite delivery capability in the field of outer space development," sources quoted Kim as saying.
Although North Korea has never flight-tested an intercontinental ballistic missile, it has recently demonstrated significant progress in its missile programs with new engines that could potentially deliver a nuclear warhead as far away as the United States.
The test comes a day after U.S. President Donald Trump lashed out at North Korea and China saying that the former was 'behaving very badly' and the latter had not done enough to help.
According to South Korea, this latest missile engine test is a significance of "meaningful" progress of the hermit country, whereas an analyst proclaims it as a dangerous step towards the North's goal of developing a rocket that could hit the United States.
"This was a comprehensive test for the first-stage rocket for an ICBM, and that is why it was dangerous," said Kim Dong-yub, an analyst at Seoul's Institute for Far Eastern Studies.
"It appears that North Korea has worked out much of its development of the first-stage rocket booster."
The North's announcement of a successful engine test came as U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was in Beijing at the end of his first visit to Asia for talks dominated by concern about North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes.
Last week, Tillerson issued the Trump administration's starkest warning yet to North Korea, saying in Seoul that a military response would be "on the table" if it took action to threaten South Korean and U.S. forces.
The United States has long called on China to do more to rein in its ally, North Korea. China resents being pressed to do more, saying the problem is between North Korea and the United States, although it too objects to the North's nuclear programme.
North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests and a series of missile launches in defiance of U.N. sanctions and is believed by experts and government officials to be working to develop nuclear-warhead missiles that could reach the United States.