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North Korea says successfully ground tests new rocket engine

North Korea says it has successfully carried out a ground test of a new engine for space launch vehicle in a possible indication the country might conduct a prohibited long-range rocket launch soon.

The United Nations and others view the North’s space launch development project as a cover for tests of missile technology, as ballistic missiles and rockets in satellite launches share similar bodies, engines and other technology.

The North’s state media said Tuesday that leader Kim Jong Un guided the ground test of a high-powered engine of a carrier rocket for a geo-stationary satellite.

Kim was quoted as ordering officials to complete preparations for a satellite launch as soon as possible.

Earlier this month, North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test, the country’s most powerful to date.

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