North Korea claims successful solid-fuel rocket test to boost ICBM progress

Seoul, Dec 16 (EFE).- North Korea said Friday it tested a high-thrust solid-fuel motor, a development that could lead to a new type of more efficient intercontinental-range ballistic missile (ICBM).

The new rocket motor was tested at a satellite-launching ground site, northwest of Pyongyang, on Thursday, the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

The news agency published images of the test done in the presence of Kim Jong-un at the satellite launch center that the international community believes Pyongyang uses to test long-range missiles.

The development of a solid fuel ICBM is one of the objectives of Kim’s regime for the North Korean weapons modernization plan approved in January 2021.

North Korea’s all long-range operating systems currently work with liquid fuel, which is less economical and makes the loading and deployment of a missile more complicated.

“An important institute under the Academy of Defense Science succeeded in the static firing test of a high-thrust solid-fuel motor with a thrust of 140 tf (ton force), the first of its kind in the country, at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground on the morning of Dec. 15,” the news agency said.

The agency claimed that the test results “scientifically and clearly” showed that all the technical indices were at par with the design values and “proved its reliability and stability.”

“This important test has provided a sure sci-tech guarantee for the development of another new type of strategic weapon system.”

North Korea has been modernizing the Sohae space launch base, which was temporarily closed in 2018 as a goodwill gesture ahead of the first summit with then-US President Donald Trump.

Kim visited the base in March and asked for its expansion and modernization.

He pressed for further development of the “launching ground zone and the facilities for the general assembly and trial gearing of rockets and satellites.”

He also emphasized the need to expand and modernize the fuel injection, supply facilities, and launch control centers for “larger carrier rockets” and the deployment of new reconnaissance satellites.

Satellites have since picked up a frenzy of activity at Sohae, indicating that Pyongyang has been preparing for months to carry out a new atomic test.

In addition to launching space rockets, Sohae is the North Korean regime’s main test bed for its liquid-fuel engines, especially those used in its missiles.

North Korea, which has refused to resume dialogue with South Korea and the United States after the failure of the Hanoi summit in 2019, has been completely isolated from the outside since the start of the pandemic. EFE


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