North Korea conducts ‘very important test’, reports KCNA

Cheryl Sanders
December 8, 2019

North Korea has reportedly carried out a "very important" test at its Sohae satellite launch site, a rocket testing ground that United States officials once said North Korea had promised to close.

Analysts have said the site has never before been used to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile, but it has been used to test missile engines and past satellite launches have helped scuttle talks with the United States.

"The results of this critical test will soon play an important role in further changing the strategic status of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea", KCNA said early on Sunday.

A couple of days ago, CNN had reported some new activity observed at the site, suggesting that the North was moving to resume missile engine tests.

The test, reported by state news agency KCNA, comes as North Korea has warned it could take a "new path" amid stalled denuclearisation talks with the USA and as its year-end deadline nears.

Diplomats from Pyongyang and Washington have been attempting to negotiate a trade that would see Kim give up the country's nuclear weapons and the ballistic missiles used to deliver them in exchange for relief from punishing U.S. and United Nations sanctions that have crippled the North Korean economy.

The launch was carried out from the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground in Tongch'ang-ri, Cholsan County, North Pyongan Province, the statement said.

In recent weeks, media reports indicated a high number of US military surveillance flights over the Korean peninsula, suggesting growing expectation of North Korean tests. The North said last week that the Central Committee will hold a meeting in late December to discuss unspecified "crucial issues" in line with "the changed situation at home and overseas".

The statement from North Korea's ambassador to the UN Kim Song came after Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Poland and the United Kingdom on Wednesday condemned North Korea's "continued testing of ballistic missiles", and called for strict enforcement of sanctions against Pyongyang.

It said North Korea does not need to have lengthy talks with the United States as the end-of-year deadline set by its leader Kim Jong Un for substantial US concessions in nuclear diplomacy looms.

The statement accused the Trump administration of persistently pursuing a "hostile policy" toward the country "in its attempt to stifle it".

Kim Song, Pyongyang's envoy to the United Nations, dismissed the Trump administration's calls for dialogue Saturday as a "timesaving trick" exclusively for "its domestic political agenda".

The ambassador said North Korea was exercising 'righteous measures of strengthening national defense capabilities'. Song also slammed European United Nations Security Council members who criticized the ballistic missile launches.

"We regard their behavior as nothing more than a despicable act of intentionally flattering the United States", Song said.

Other reports by iNewsToday