South Korea’s Defense Minister on Tuesday said that a recent test at a North Korean rocket liftoff site was a rocket engine, as the Trump administration exhibits concern about the possibility of escalation from the rogue nation.
A rocket engine would be another step toward long-range missiles.
Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo said that he had “deep concerns” about the engine test and the North’s other recent missile launches, The Associated Press reported.
Jeong did not say what the test was for, but said that his country’s northern neighbor should halt “acts that escalate military tensions.”
North Korea had said Sunday that it had carried out a “very important test” at a launch facility.
“The results of the recent important test will have an important effect on changing the strategic position of [North Korea] once again in the near future,” a spokesman told the official Korean Central News Agency in a statement Sunday.
The test came shortly after President Trump had announced during a NATO meeting in London that the U.S. would use force against North Korea if necessary while reissuing the nickname “Rocket Man” for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Talks between the U.S. and North Korea have stalled for months.
In recent months, North Korea has fired several short-range missiles and other weapons.
The Trump administration is expected this week to ask the United Nations Security Council to talk about North Korea’s recent missile launches and “the possibility of an escalatory” action from North Korea, according to a State Department official.