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Report: N. Korea tested ICBM engine

Sept. 16, 2008 at 1:54 PM

SEOUL, Sept. 16 (UPI) -- A South Korean newspaper says North Korea conducted engine tests for a long-range intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States.

A report published Tuesday in Chosun Ilbo, the largest circulation newspaper in South Korea, quoted an unnamed South Korean official as saying a U.S. reconnaissance satellite this year detected an engine test firing at a North Korean missile launch site, The Washington Post said.

The presence of the previously unknown launch site was revealed last week when South Korean Defense Minister Lee Sang-hee told a parliamentary committee the site is about 80 percent complete. The Post said Jane's Defense Weekly claims the facility has a mobile launch pad and a 10-story tower that would support North Korea's largest ballistic missiles.

Analysts said that if the various reports are accurate, it would indicate that Pyongyang is continuing to pursue work on long-range ICBM development even as it's negotiating with the United States and five other countries to dismantle its nuclear weapons program.

The U.N. Security Council issued a resolution in 2006 demanding that North Korea "suspend all activities related to its ballistic missile program," the Post said.

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