UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — North Korea conducted another test at a satellite launch site on Friday to boost its capabilities in strategic nuclear deterrence, the Korean Central News Agency said on Saturday.
The agency quoted a spokesman for the North Korean Academy of Defense Sciences as saying that the experiment was conducted at the Suhai satellite launch site, without specifying the nature of the experiment.
The experiment is the second of its kind in the facility for eight days.
The agency reported on Sunday that North Korea had conducted a “very important” test on December 7 at the Sohai missile launch site, which US officials once said North Korea had promised to shut down.
That report described the experience as “a successful trial of great importance”. South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyung Do said it was a test drive.
News of the experiments comes before a deadline at the end of the year expires, which Pyongyang gave Washington to back down from its insistence on unilateral nuclear disarmament.
North Korea has warned it could take a “new path” as talks with the United States falter. The chief US envoy to North Korea is scheduled to arrive in Seoul on Sunday for meetings with South Korean officials.
Analysts said such tests could help North Korea manufacture more reliable intercontinental ballistic missiles.
“The idea seems to be to remind the United States that North Korea still has room to develop its program on how to do it,” said Ankeet Panda, a senior fellow at the US-based Union of American Scientists.
“We had strong indications that whatever they do in Suhai it is of a military nature, as the Defense Science Academy assumed responsibility for advertising, not the national administration for the development of outer space, and their agency for space,” he added.
Tensions have escalated in the past few weeks, as Pyongyang conducted weapons tests and entered a war of words with US President Donald Trump, fueling fears of a return to a climate of tension between the two countries.
Seoul and Washington said on Friday that Stephen Pigeon, the US special envoy for North Korea, will arrive in South Korea on Sunday.
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