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North Korea: 2nd ‘Crucial’ Test to Nuclear Weapons Program

The test was successfully conducted on Friday night at the “Sohae Satellite Launching Ground,” a spokesman of the North’s Academy of Defense Science said. South Korean officials have said that the earlier test was of an engine that could power either a satellite-carrying rocket or a ballistic missile. The North Korean spokesman offered no details on the latest test, but he said the successful results of both would “be applied to further bolstering up the reliable strategic nuclear deterrent” of North Korea, according to the North’s official Korean Central News Agency.

“Our defense scientists were greatly honored to receive warm congratulations” from the Central Committee of the ruling Workers’ Party, the North Korean spokesman said.
In a separate statement on Saturday, Pak Jong-chon, the chief of the general staff of the North Korean People’s Army, said the data from the latest tests at Tongchang-ri would help develop “another strategic weapon” to deter the United States.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un

“We should be ready to cope with political and military provocations of the hostile forces, and be familiar with both dialogue and confrontation,” Mr. Pak said in his statement, which was carried by the official Korean Central News Agency. He said the United States and other forces would “spend the year-end in peace only when they hold off any words and deeds rattling us.”

The North Korean announcement came a day before Stephen E. Biegun, Washington’s top envoy on North Korea, was scheduled to begin a five-day trip to Seoul and Tokyo to discuss how to deal with a Dec. 31 deadline that the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, had set for Washington to return to the negotiating table with more concessions, including the easing of international sanctions.

In recent weeks, North Korea has repeatedly indicated that it would abandon diplomacy and could even resume provocative tests of weapons unless Washington met its year-end deadline. Mr. Kim is widely expected to use a meeting of his Workers’ Party’s Central Committee, scheduled for this month, and his annual New Year’s Day speech to reveal his new policy options.

North Korea Links 2nd ‘Crucial’ Test to Nuclear Weapons Program

SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea said on Saturday that it had conducted “another crucial test” at a missile-engine and satellite-launching site, its second such test in a week as the country attempts to press the United States into further talks and new concessions. It declared that both tests would feed into its military’s nuclear program.

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