This undated picture released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) via KNS on March 7, 2017 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un supervising the launching of four ballistic missiles by the Korean People's Army (KPA) during a military drill at an undisclosed location in North Korea.

Nuclear-armed North Korea launched four ballistic missiles on March 6 in another challenge to President Donald Trump, with three landing provocatively close to America's ally Japan. / AFP PHOTO / KCNA VIA KNS / STR / South Korea OUT / REPUBLIC OF KOREA OUT   ---EDITORS NOTE--- RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO/KCNA VIA KNS" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
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Report: North Korea tests new rocket engine
01:50 - Source: CNN

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Analyst: North Korea's improved technology could lead to more accurate ICBMs

Seoul, South Korea CNN  — 

North Korea is touting a “great leap forward” in its rocket program after the successful testing of a new high-thrust engine, state media reported Sunday.

North Korea says it successfully tested a high-thrust rocket engine.

The test measured the thrust power in the combustion chamber, the structural safety and reliability of the engine, and the movement of the turbine pump, the Korean Central News Agency said. It reportedly took place at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground, in North Pyongan Province.

Leader Kim Jong Un is congratulated after the rocket engine test.

CNN military analyst Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling said advances in North Korea’s rocket system could help with the country’s development of ICBMs – intercontinental ballistic missiles.

“Some of these technologies which the North Koreans are including in their rocket expansion program actually have to do with a covert method of firing missiles without being detected in advance of actually exploding the devices. So that’s part of the issue,” Hertling said.

“The other piece is when you’re talking about an intercontinental ballistic missile, the types of warheads and the amount of weight that are in the missile itself have to be launched off of a pad. And the better they can improve their technology to do that, the more accurate these systems are going to be – not only from leaving the pad, but also going into the atmosphere and then hitting the target on the other side.”

North Korea’s missile program is speeding up, experts say

‘Historic significance’

State media said the test was successful and marked an event of “historic significance” that could lead to the rebirth of the country’s indigenous rocket industry.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered the start of the test and oversaw it from an observation post, the KCNA reported.

Kim emphasized the whole world would “soon witness what eventful significance the great victory won today carries,” KCNA reported.

Kim’s announcement came hours before US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with President Xi Jinping of China – North Korea’s only major global ally – in Beijing.

Although neither side brought up the subject publicly, Tillerson was expected to raise the prospect of financial penalties on Chinese companies and banks that do business with North Korea.

A spate of reported missile tests