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N.Korean Leader Hails ‘Historic’ Rocket Breakthrough

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Pyongyang celebrates rocket engine test which onlookers fear could precede launch of intercontinental ballistic missile

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un appeared on state-run media with a broad smile Sunday claiming to usher in a new era of rocket technology, sending exactly the opposite message sought by the United States and its regional allies.

Kim reportedly oversaw a powerful new rocket engine test at the secretive state’s Sohae Satellite Launching Ground.

“He emphasized that the whole world will soon witness what eventful significance the great victory won today carries,” stated Pyongyang’s KCNA news agency.

Experts cited by South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency suggested the test was similar to an experiment last September, but the flame shown on the North’s latest footage indicated Pyongyang may have an engine capable of blasting a weapon as far as the U.S. mainland.

Kim already claimed earlier this year that his country is preparing to test an intercontinental ballistic missile, which the engine test could be a step towards.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has been in China over the weekend on the last stop of a three-nation tour of Northeast Asia.

North Korea has dominated Tillerson’s agenda, with Washington seeking new ways to contain Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions where previous efforts, including talks and sanctions, have failed.

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