The Ministry of National Defense says North Korea has made a "meaningful advancement" in its rocket engine technology through a ground test on Saturday.
In a regular news briefing on Monday, the defense ministry revealed the assessment, adding more analysis is necessary to determine the engine’s exact thrust and the prospect of its usage.
It explained that consisting of one main and four auxiliary engines, the recently tested rocket is presumed to be a preparatory step for developing a new, more elaborate one.
The ministry said that it is conducting detailed analysis to identify whether the engine is likely to be the first-stage fuselage of an intercontinental ballistic missile, a possibility raised by media outlets.
The North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency reported on Sunday that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un observed the ground test of a new high-thrust rocket engine on Saturday. It called the test a success, claiming that overall technical indicators reached target levels.