'Very important': N Korea carries out test at rocket launch site

North Korea increasing pressure on United States as prospects for resumption of stalled nuclear talks dim.

    North Korea said on Sunday it had carried out a 'very important' test at its satellite launch site [File: Dita Alangkara/AP Photo]
    North Korea said on Sunday it had carried out a 'very important' test at its satellite launch site [File: Dita Alangkara/AP Photo]

    North Korea has carried out a "very important" test at its Sohae Satellite Launching Station, state media KCNA reported on Sunday, a day after warning that denuclearisation was already off the negotiating table in stalled denuclearisation talks with the United States.

    "A very important test was carried out at the Sohae Satellite Launch Site on December 7th, 2019," a spokesperson for the North's National Academy of Science said.

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    The result of the latest test will have an "important effect" on changing the "strategic status" of North Korea, the spokesperson said in a statement carried by the KCNA news agency.

    The report did not specify what was tested, but the site has previously been used to launch long-range rockets.

    On Saturday, the North Korea's United Nations ambassador, Kim Song, accused the US of persistently pursuing a "hostile policy" towards the country "in its attempt to stifle it".

    He also said Washington's claims that it was engaged in a "sustained and substantial dialogue" with Pyongyang were solely for "its domestic political agenda".

    "We do not need to have lengthy talks with the US now and the denuclearisation is already gone out of the negotiation table," the statement said.

    North Korea has carried out 13 ballistic missile launches since May and has been ramping up the pressure as an end-of-year deadline set by leader Kim Jong Un for substantial US concessions in nuclear diplomacy looms.

    Diplomacy stalled

    Kim had agreed to close the Sohae site during a summit last year with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Pyongyang as part of trust-building measures.

    Kim has also held three meetings with US President Donald Trump since June 2018 but little progress has been made in efforts towards denuclearisation.

    On Thursday, the North's vice foreign minister warned of returning to a war of words with the US, threatening to resume referring to Trump as a "dotard" - Pyongyang's nickname for the US leader at the height of tensions in 2017.

    Those comments followed a warning that if the US used military force against the North it would take "prompt corresponding actions at any level".

    At the recent NATO summit, Trump boasted about Washington's "most powerful military", adding: "Hopefully, we don't have to use it, but if we do, we'll use it. If we have to, we'll do it."

    SOURCE: News agencies