North Korea state media said on Saturday December 14th that another "crucial test" had been conducted at its Sohae satellite launch site. The test came as nuclear negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington remain stalled with a deadline approaching.
The official announcement comes after the United States tested a medium-range ballistic missile over the Pacific Ocean on Thursday, and only one day before the US Special Envoy on North Korea, Stephen Biegun is set to arrive in Seoul for a three-day visit, according to AFP.
A spokesperson for the North's National Academy of Defence Science, in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency said, "Another crucial test was successfully conducted at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground from 22:41 to 22:48 (13:41 to 13:48 GMT) on December 13", Bloomberg reported.
The source said that the "research successes" would be "applied to further bolstering up the reliable strategic nuclear deterrent" of North Korea, without providing further details of the test.
Sohae, on North Korea's northwest coast, is a facility designed for putting satellites into orbit, but the US says the site had been used on several occasions as a rocket launcher for long-range ballistic missile tests.
Under United Nations Security Council resolutions, the North is banned from firing ballistic missiles, as rocket engines can easily be repurposed for use in missiles.