North Korea said Saturday it had successfully tested an engine designed for an inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) that would “guarantee” an eventual nuclear strike on the US mainland.
It was the latest in a series of claims by Pyongyang of significant breakthroughs in both its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes.
Outside experts have treated a number of the claims with scepticism, suggesting the North Korean leadership is attempting to talk up its achievements ahead of a showcase ruling party congress next month.
According to the North’s official KCNA news agency, the ground engine test was ordered and personally monitored by leader Kim Jong-Un.
As soon as Kim flagged off the test, “the engine spewed out huge flames with deafening boom”, KCNA said.
“The great success… provided a firm guarantee for mounting another form of nuclear attack upon the US imperialists and other hostile forces,” Kim was quoted as saying.