'North Korea conducts very important test'

Updated: Dec 09, 2019, 10:40 IST | Agencies | Seoul

Official news agency KCNA says result of the test will have an 'important effect' on changing the 'strategic position' of the country

Visitors look towards the skyline of North Korea at the Odusan obeservatory overlooking the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas, in Paju. Pic/AFP
Visitors look towards the skyline of North Korea at the Odusan obeservatory overlooking the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas, in Paju. Pic/AFP

Seoul: North Korea said Sunday it had carried out a "very important test" at its space launch centre, as Pyongyang ramps up pressure on Washington over stalled nuclear talks.

The announcement of Saturday's test at the Sohae satellite launch site came just hours after US President Donald Trump said he would be "surprised" by any hostile action from the North. Trump warned Sunday that North Korea's Kim Jong Un had "everything" to lose through hostility towards the United States.

"A very important test took place at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground on the afternoon of December 7, 2019," a spokesman for North Korea's Academy of the National Defence Science said.

The result of the latest test will have an "important effect" on changing the "strategic position" of North Korea, the spokesman said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.

Sohae, on North Korea's northwest coast, is ostensibly a facility designed for putting satellites into orbit. But Pyongyang has carried out several rocket launches there that were condemned by the US and others as disguised long-range ballistic missile tests.

"Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way," Trump tweeted in response to the unspecified test. "North Korea, under the leadership of Kim Jong Un, has tremendous economic potential, but it must denuclearise as promised," Trump tweeted.

"NATO, China, Russia, Japan, and the entire world is unified on this issue!" Writing that Kim had "signed a strong Denuclearisation Agreement" at their June 2018 summit in Singapore," Trump warned, "He does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere with the US Presidential Election in November."

Talks suspended
Accusing the US of using dialogues as a 'time-saving trick' to serve a 'domestic political agenda', North Korea on Saturday said that denuclearisation talks with Washington are off the table.

Son demands return of father

The son of a hijacking victim and his supporters on Sunday once more demanded North Korea return his father, five decades after Pyongyang diverted a plane carrying 50 South Koreans on board. Hwang Won was on a domestic Korean Air flight from Gangneung to Seoul's Gimpo airport on December 11, 1969, only for the aircraft to be hijacked by a North Korean spy 10 minutes after takeoff and made to land in Pyongyang. Two months later, 39 passengers were repatriated, but the North never returned 11 people including Hwang – whose son, who was two at the time of the hijacking, has continued to fight for his release. Returning passengers said Hwang Won had been dragged away after resisting indoctrination efforts and questioning North Korea's ideology.

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