NK conducts 'very important test'
Global Times


Photo, on Oct. 3, 2019 shows the test-firing of the new-type ballistic missile, known as Pukguksong-3, in vertical mode in the waters off the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s eastern Wonsan Bay. (Photo: Xinhua)

North Korea said Sunday it had carried out a "very important test" at its space launch ­center, 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 North Korea.

"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 National Defense Science said.

On Saturday North Korea's Ambassador to the UN said denuclearization was now off the negotiating table with the US and lengthy talks with Washington are not needed.

"The results of the recent important test will have an important effect on changing the strategic position of the DPRK once again in the near future," the official KCNA news agency reported, using the initials of North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The statement did not ­provide further details on the test.

A senior US administration official said, "We have seen the reports of a test, and are coordinating closely with allies and partners."

It comes as Pyongyang is ramping up pressure ahead of its December 31 deadline for the US to propose a new offer to kick-start stalled nuclear talks.

Hours before North ­Korea announced its latest test, Trump had emphasized his "very good relationship" with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

"Well, we'll see about North Korea. I'd be surprised if North Korea acted hostilely," he said on Saturday afternoon in Washington DC.

"[Kim] knows I have an election coming up. I don't think he wants to interfere with that. But we'll have to see."=

Following his first summit with Kim in June 2018, Trump said Kim had agreed to destroy "a major missile engine testing site" without naming the facility.

Kim then agreed to shutter the Sohae site during a summit last year with South ­Korean President Moon Jae-in in Pyongyang as part of trust-building measures.

Kim has held three meetings with Trump since June 2018 but little progress has been made in efforts toward denuclearization.