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North Korea Reports 'Very Important Test' at Rocket Launch Site 


FILE - A man watches a TV screen showing an image of the Sohae Satellite Launching Station in Tongchang-ri, North Korea, during a news program at a Seoul rail station, March 6, 2019. North Korea said Dec. 8 that it carried out a key test at the site.

North Korea conducted "a very important test" at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station, the country's state media said Sunday.

The test took place Saturday at the long-range rocket launching station in Tongchang-ri, a part of North Pyongan province near the border of China, the government-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

Sohae Satellite Launching Station
Sohae Satellite Launching Station

The results "will have an important effect on changing the strategic position of the DPRK once again in the near future," it added, using an acronym for North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The report did not say what kind of test was performed at the site.

The announcement came a day after CNN reported that Planet Labs, a commercial satellite imagery company, had detected activity at the Sohae station, including the image of a large shipping container at the site.

This year has been one of North Korea's busiest in terms of missile launches. Saturday's launch came as North Korea has continued to emphasize its end-of-year deadline for the United States to change its approach to stalled nuclear talks.

Pyongyang has carried out 13 rounds of short- or medium-range launches since May. Most experts say nearly all the tests have involved some form of ballistic missile technology.

Trump comment

Earlier this month, U.S. President Donald Trump, in answering reporters' questions about North Korea at the NATO summit in London, said, "Now we have the most powerful military we've ever had and we're by far the most powerful country in the world. And, hopefully, we don't have to use it, but if we do, we'll use it. If we have to, we'll do it."

North Korea responded in kind. "Anyone can guess with what action the DPRK will answer if the U.S. undertakes military actions against the DPRK," Pak Jong Chon, head of the Korean People's Army (KPA), stated through KCNA December 4. "One thing I would like to make clear is that the use of armed forces is not the privilege of the U.S. only."

North Korea last tested an intercontinental ballistic missile in November 2017 and conducted a nuclear test in September 2017.

In April 2018, Kim announced a self-imposed moratorium on ICBM and nuclear tests, saying North Korea "no longer need[s]" those tests. Recently, however, North Korean officials have issued reminders that North Korea's pause on ICBM and nuclear tests was self-imposed and could be reversed.