SEOUL, South Korea -- North Korea says it has carried out a test at its satellite facility in the north of the country, which experts infer may have involved the testing of a new rocket engine.
"Another crucial test was successfully conducted at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground on December 13, 2019," the KCNA state news agency said on Saturday.
The test was carried out late Friday and was successful, KCNA reported without mentioning details.
The latest tests were designed to maximize its "reliable strategic nuclear deterrent." A week ago, the government in Pyongyang said it had carried out a "very important" test at the same site.
On Saturday, Ankit Panda, a North Korea expert, wrote on Twitter, "the focus on reliability suggests they're perhaps testing iterations/modifications of existing liquid propellant engine technology."
He added, it "could be attempts to further refine their RD-250-variant engine, for example."
North Korea's leadership praised the scientists after the test, according to KCNA, which wrote, "Our defense scientists were greatly honored to receive warm congratulations from the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea on the spot."
Progress on North Korean denuclearization has stalled after a summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in February which ultimately failed to resolve any issues.
The North Korean leadership has made clear it has no interest in new disarmament talks with the United States as long as Washington refuses to lift sanctions. It set a deadline for the U.S. for the end of the year.
Experts in South Korea fear that North Korea will lift its self-imposed moratorium on nuclear testing and long-range missile testing if no progress is made before the deadline.