North Korea carries out 'very important test' at rocket site

North Korea carries out 'very important test' at rocket site
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North Korea said Sunday that it had carried out a “very important test” at a satellite launch facility.

A spokesman said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency that the successful test on Saturday was of “great significance” to Pyongyang.

“The results of the recent important test will have an important effect on changing the strategic position of the DPRK once again in the near future,” the spokesman added.

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Experts said the test appeared to be a static test of a rocket engine rather than a missile launch.

“If it is indeed a static engine test for a new solid or liquid fuel missile, it is yet another loud signal that the door for diplomacy is quickly slamming, if it isn’t already,” Vipin Narang, a nuclear affairs expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told Reuters. “This could be a very credible signal of what might await the world after the New Year.”

The Associated Press noted that the site of the test, the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground, was partially dismantled during denuclearization talks with the U.S. in 2018. However, last March, South Korean intelligence officials as well as some U.S. experts said North Korea appeared to be restoring the facility, the news service added.

The test comes after President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump marks 'very sad milestone' of 100K coronavirus deaths DOJ: George Floyd death investigation a 'top priority' Lifting our voices — and votes MORE announced at NATO meeting in London last week that the U.S. would use force against North Korea if needed.

When asked by reporters about North Korea's continuous missile tests, the president responded that the U.S. has the most powerful military internationally and he would utilize it against North Korea “if we have to.”

The president also resurfaced the nickname “Rocket Man” for North Korean leader Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnKim Jong Un seeks to continue bolstering North Korea's nuclear capabilities, state media says Overnight Defense: State Dept. watchdog was investigating emergency Saudi arms sales before ouster | Pompeo says he requested watchdog be fired for 'undermining' department | Pensacola naval base shooter had 'significant ties' to al Qaeda, Barr says Trump says investigation into Pompeo shows 'screwed up' priorities MORE during his comments.

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A North Korean official responded by saying that her office could not “contain its displeasure” over the president’s comments, and added that if he continues, Trump “will again show the senility of a dotard.”

North Korea also said week that the U.S. will decide what kind of “Christmas gift” it wants as the end-of-the-year deadline for negotiations on denuclearization approaches.

Talks have stalled for months, with North Korea last month calling U.S. efforts “sickening.”

North Korea said in a statement on Saturday that the Trump administration has pursued a “hostile policy” and has attempted to “stifle” Pyongyang, according to the AP.

North Korea added that Poland, Estonia, Belgium, Britain, France and Germany, which condemned the north’s missile launches earlier this year, had acted as “the pet dog of the United States.”

--Zack Budryk contributed to this report, which was updated at 8:32 a.m.