SEOUL – North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un oversaw on Saturday the ground test of a rocket engine and said it ushers in a new era in the country’s technology, North Korean state media reported on Sunday.
Kim Jong-un visited the Sohae satellite launch facility to inspect the performance of the latest technology developed by the Academy of the National Defense Science, according to state agency KCNA.
The North Korean leader said the success of the test “marked a great event of historic significance.”
He also emphasized that “the whole world will soon witness what eventful significance the great victory won today carries,” as reported by the North Korean agency.
Pyongyang released this information on the same day the United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will conclude his Asian tour in Beijing, after he also visited Japan and South Korea and which focused on defining a new strategy to counter North Korea.
Following a meeting on Saturday with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Tillerson pledged to do everything possible to prevent a military conflict on the Korean peninsula at a time of rising tensions in the region.
North Korea conducted its last weapons test on March 6, when the army fired four medium-range missiles into waters close to Japan.
The test was in response to the ongoing annual military exercises by Seoul and Washington in South Korea, which Pyongyang considers as provocation and a rehearsal to invade its territory.
North Korea launched a space rocket on Feb. 7, 2016, considered by the international community as a disguised long-range missile test.
The rocket launch, along with a nuclear test carried out by the country in September last year – and followed by another visit by Kim Jong-un to the Sohae base to oversee the country’s rocket technology –, prompted the United Nations to impose new, tougher sanctions on the country.