Defense

North Korea tests rocket engine for ICBM

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North Korea conducted another rocket engine test as part of its efforts to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), according to multiple reports Thursday.

The test follows about a dozen missile launches this year, as well as three engine tests in March.

The United States assessed the Thursday test could be for the smallest stage of an ICBM rocket engine, according to Reuters, which cited an unnamed U.S. official.

U.S. officials have warned that North Korea is on the path to successfully developing an ICBM capable of hitting the United States unless something changes.

{mosads}President Trump has repeatedly said China is the key to reining in Pyongyang, but on Tuesday tweeted that “it has not worked out.”

It’s unclear whether the tweet was setting up a change in how the United States deals with North Korea.

In addition to the missile and nuclear programs, tensions with North Korea have spiked after the death of Otto Warmbier, a 22-year-old Ohio native who was held in North Korea for 17 months and died after coming home unable to speak, see or react to verbal commands.

On Wednesday, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held talks with Chinese officials where North Korea was a major issue.

Following the talks, the two told reporters they pushed China to do more about North Korea.

The United States “reiterated to China that they have a diplomatic responsibility to exert much greater economic and diplomatic pressure on the regime if they want to prevent further escalation in the region,” Tillerson said Wednesday.

On Thursday, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) said the rocket engine test shows it’s time to “wake up.”

“It is time for the world to wake up,” he said in a statement. “It is clear we are rapidly approaching a point of no return with North Korea, and there needs to be a global urgency to stop their development of nuclear delivery capability.”

He added that he’s prepared to draft legislation to impose a financial embargo on North Korea.

“My legislation will present a clear choice to all those enabling Pyongyang: you either do business with a nuclear-armed madman who abuses his own people and has just murdered an American or you do business with the world’s only economic and military superpower,” he said.

“We are rapidly approaching a point of no return, and the world needs to come together if we want to prevent nuclear war.”

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