North Korea conducts rocket engine test

Moon, unlike his ousted predecessor Park Geun-hye, who took a hardline stance against the North, is known to favor engagement with Pyongyang to bring it to the negotiating table.

Since winning the election last month, Mr. Moon has vowed to pursue talks with North Korea, insisting that sanctions alone have failed to persuade it to stop its nuclear weapons program.

Moon will travel to Washington, D.C., next week; he's planning to meet with President Trump for a two-day summit, from June 29-30.

In the latest of its constant ballistic missile provocations, in early June, North Korea fired several anti-ship cruise missiles.

The North has been stepping up its missile development in recent years.

The Rodong Sinmum commentary suggests that the US government is suffering from its own crisis, which could include "the impeachment of Trump", and that the president is now considering launching a preemptive strike against North Korea because of his "tough situation" at home.

The North, now under a raft of UN crippling sanctions over its military programs, says it will continue those programs until the United States ends its hostility toward the country, slamming the controversial deployment of US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) in South Korea.

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Moon's office did not disclose the details of the missile being tested, but South Korea has been working to develop ballistic missiles with a range of 800 km (500 miles), a voluntary cap under an agreement with the United States.

A medium-range ballistic missile was launched from a test range in Hawaii at 7:20 pm local time, but the interceptor missile fired at sea from USS John Paul Jones, a guided-missile destroyer, missed the target. It first agreed to missile guidelines with the United States in 1979 in return for technological aid in developing its first ballistic missiles.

Experts however say North Korea could still be years away from possessing any reliable ICBM capability, reports said.

North Korea's regime has claimed that its new rocket could deliver a "large heavy nuclear warhead" all the way to the U.S. mainland.

Tensions have been high between the USA and the rogue state since American student Otto Warmbier died as a result of a catastrophic brain injury sustained while he was detained by North Korea.

A North Korean coach and 20 other ITF officials, mostly North Koreans, also came to South Korea.

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