North Korea Conducts Another ‘Crucial Test’ at Sohae Satellite Launching Ground

North Korea has conducted yet another ‘crucial test’ at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground on Dec. 13, spokesperson of Academy of the Defence Science said in a statement.

“Another crucial test was successfully conducted at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground from 22:41 to 22:48 [13:41-13:48 GMT] on December 13, 2019”, said the statement.

The statement added that the new test will further strengthen the “reliable strategic nuclear deterrent” of the country.

“Our defence scientists were greatly honoured to receive warm congratulations from the Central Committee of the Worker’s Party of Korea on the spot. The research successes being registered by us in defence science one after another recently will be applied to furthur bolstering up the reliable strategic nuclear deterrent of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.”

On Dec. 7, North Korea announced that it conducted a ‘very important test’ at the Sohae satellite launch site. The test was later reported to be of a new rocket engine for either a space launch vehicle (SLV) or an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

During the 2018 North Korea–United States summit, Kim Jong-un promised that North Korea would destroy a missile engine test stand soon. The site was not initially named but was later identified to be the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground by U.S. officials. This pledge was made official as part of the Pyongyang Declaration which Kim and South Korean leader Moon Jae-In signed at the September 2018 inter-Korean summit. On 31 October 2018, South Korean officials visited the site and confirmed it was being dismantled and ready for an upcoming inspection.

But in early 2019, after a summit between North Korea and the U.S. ended without an agreement, North Korea began rebuilding the site.

The new tests came as Pyongyang has ramped up pressure on the United States to meet its demand for a new negotiating proposal by year’s end, strongly suggesting that otherwise, it could restart testing of nuclear weapons and ICBMs.

Last month, the North reiterated that the deadline is drawing closer, saying that it is “entirely” up to the U.S. what “Christmas gift” it wants to get, putting pressure on Washington to take first action in making concessions.

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