WASHINGTON North Korea has carried out another test of a rocket engine that the United States believes could be part of its program to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile, a U.S. official told Reuters on Thursday.
The United States assessed that the test, the latest in a series of engine and missile trials this year, could be for the smallest stage of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) rocket engine, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
A second U.S. official also confirmed the test but did not provide additional details on the type of rocket component that was being tested or whether it fit into the ICBM program.
One official said he believed the test had taken place within the past 24 hours.
North Korea’s state media, which is normally quick to publicize successful missile-related developments, did not carry any reports on the engine test.
South Korean officials did not have details about the reported test and declined to comment on the possible nature of the engine.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China opposed any action that violated UN Security Council resolutions and called for restraint from all parties.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who was elected last month on a platform of a more moderate approach to Pyongyang including dialogue to ease tension, inspected the test-launch of a ballistic missile on Friday that is being developed by the South’s military.
“I believe in dialogue, but dialogue is possible when it’s backed by strong defense and engagement policy is possible only when we have security ability that can overwhelm the North,” Moon was quoted by his office as saying at the test site.
Moon’s office did not disclose the details of the missile being tested, but South Korea has been working to develop ballistic missiles with a range of 800 km (500 miles), a voluntary cap under an agreement with the…