North Korea says it has successfully conducted the first ground jet tests of its newly developed high-thrust solid-fuel engines for a new-type intermediate-range ballistic missile.
The country's ruling Workers' Party newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, issued a report on Wednesday. It said that the General Missile Bureau conducted tests of the first-stage and second-stage engines on November 11 and 14 respectively.
The newspaper published two photos from the tests. In one, flames and a large volume of white smoke can be seen billowing out of an engine's nozzle. Those are typical characteristics of a solid-fuel engine.
The missile bureau stressed that it is further enhancing the military's "strategic offensive capabilities" in light of "the grave and unstable security environment facing the country and the future military situation in the region, in which the enemies will get more vicious in their military collusion and nexus." Observers say the bureau may have had Japan, the United States and South Korea in mind when it made the remark.
The development of solid-fuel ballistic missiles has been a focus of North Korea's five-year defense plan. Solid-fuel missiles can be launched more swiftly than liquid-fuel ones.
The country has been developing solid-fuel ICBM-class and short-range ballistic missiles.
Pyongyang has conducted multiple test launches of liquid-fuel intermediate-range ballistic missiles. Some of those missiles flew over Japan. Some countries are on the alert, as North Korea is expected to celebrate its newly designated "missile industry day" on Saturday.