North Korea announces new engine for ballistic missiles

North Korea has carried out successful ground tests of a new engine for its intercontinental ballistic missiles, improving the range of its nuclear deterrent, the regime said Saturday.

The jet test of a new type of high-power engine was ordered and attended at an unspecified date by leader Kim Jong Un, Pyongyang's Korean Central News Agency reported, according to the South's Yonhap News Agency.

The test's 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.

Now North Korea "can tip the new type of inter-continental ballistic rockets with more powerful nuclear warheads and keep any cesspool of evils in the earth including the US mainland within our striking range."

The isolated regime has nuclear bombs and ballistic missiles, but there have been doubts that the bombs are light enough or the missiles powerful enough for a viable nuclear warhead.

Kim in March said North Korea had developed a smaller warhead to fit on the intercontinental missiles, repeating a statement from a government representative last year.

The regime held its fourth nuclear test explosion in January, and launched a long-range rocket in February, prompting the UN Security Council to impose its strictest sanctions ever on Pyongyang.

In March, North Korea said it had tested a solid-fuel rocket engine, which would allow more frequent launches, according to a South Korean Defence Ministry spokesman.

Last month it also fired several short-range missiles into the sea, and threatened a pre-emptive nuclear strike in response to an annual US and South Korean military drill.

The recent announcements regarding the country's nuclear weapons programme could be to boost Kim's leaderhip ahead of a rare meeting of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party in May, Yonhap said, citing unnamed analysts.

Last update: Sat, 09/04/2016 - 12:53

More from World

Houthi leader: Rebels did not launch missile targeting Mecca

A Houthi leader on Friday denied Saudi allegations that Shiite Houthi rebels launched a ballistic missile from a...

Syria vows to take control of Aleppo at Moscow talks with allies

The Syrian military will take full control of the war-torn city of Aleppo, Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said...

India says three dead after Pakistani forces open fire in Kashmir

An Indian soldier and two civilians were killed when Pakistani border forces opened fire in Kashmir, Indian...

UN: Islamic State uses tens of thousands as human shields in Mosul

Islamic State militants are using tens of thousands of people as human shields in the extremist group's stronghold...

Report: Houthi rebels in Yemen say missile hit key Saudi airport

Houthi rebels in Yemen and forces loyal to the country's former president Ali Abdullah Saleh claimed to have struck...