Kim Jong watches ground jet test of new high-thrust engine

North Korean state media said Mr Kim attended the test of a new high-thrust engine to propel rockets at the Sohae launch site.

The new engine is an ambitious development with regards to North Korea's long-range missiles.

Last fall, the US and South Korean militaries detected at least two failed missile launches by North Korea.

But he has taken a markedly milder tone in China - the one country with the most potential leverage on its neighbour North Korea and which favours restraint and diplomacy.

"Obviously we have a very bad relationship with them, we're not pals, [but] to be able to exert influence on North to encourage our friends in the region who I think are rightfully concerned with North Korea as well to step up".

The KCNA added that the test confirmed the engine's qualifications, saying it proved "stable maintenance of indices of all systems such as starting and stopping features" of the high-powered engine, which it called a "Korean-style" incorporation of "indigenous technology". That and several recent missile tests have injected new urgency into efforts to halt his weapons program.

They said judging by the flame and duration of the burn, the latest engine could carry a rocket or missile over 5,500 kilometers.

Another seven North Korean men earlier named by the police as key suspects are still at large.

He added that North Korea is highly likely to either conduct its sixth nuclear test or fire an ICBM missile next month amid rising signs of the North's preparation for the underground nuclear test.

The country leader Kim Jong Un has termed it a revolutionary breakthrough for the country's space program.

United States president Donald Trump's new right hand man Rex Tillerson met with his Chinese counterpart on Saturday.

"And we hope all parties, including our friends from the United States, could size up the situation in a cool-headed and comprehensive fashion and arrive at a wise decision", Wang said, according to a translation in a transcript of the briefing provided by the U.S. State Department. "China has done little to help!"

During his visit to Seoul, Tillerson admitted that Washington's "strategic patience" policy toward Pyongyang was over.

  • Elsie Buchanan