East Asian nation North Korea has conducted another "crucial test" at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground on December 13, as reported by KCNA. It's second such test to be conducted in a week, at the same launch site. The tests are seen as a pressure tactic ahead of North Korea's year-end deadline put forth for the United States to drop its insistence on unilateral denuclearization.
'Crucial test' conducted on Friday
Another crucial test was successfully conducted at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground from 22:41 pm to 22:48 pm on December 13, 2019, North Korea's state news agency KCNA, stated on Saturday.
The news agency quoted a spokesman of Academy of Defence Science of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), commonly known as North Korea. The research successes would be "applied to further bolstering up the reliable strategic nuclear deterrent" of North Korea, the statement said.
Second test at the same site in a week
On Sunday (December 8), KCNA said in a statement that North Korea had carried out a "very important" test on Dec. 7 (last Saturday) at the Sohae satellite launch site, the same site where it carried out the Friday's test. KCNA called it a "successful test of great significance". Later, the South Korean defence minister Jeong Keong-doo said that the December 7 test was an engine test.
Pressure tactic against the United States
Both the tests come close to the year-end deadline North Korea has put forth for the United States to drop its insistence on unilateral denuclearization. Both the tests were conducted at the site, the United States once said North Korea had promised to close.
North Korea has demanded easing of unilateral sanctions, in exchange for certain progress on the denuclearization issue. The US, however, has insisted that the North first relinquish its nuclear arsenal.
Pyongyang's weapons tests and war of words against the United States have escalated in recent times. In April, earlier this year, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un warned that Pyongyang could take a "new path" amid the stalled talks.
Earlier this month, a senior North Korean official threatened, to deliver earlier a "Christmas gift" to the United States, a remark that stirred concerns in United States, South Korea and Japan. Amid escalating tensions, US Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun will be on a three-days visit to Seoul and Tokyo, starting Sunday (December 15).