North Korea has conducted a ground test of a new type of high-thrust rocket engine that leader Kim Jong Un is calling a revolutionary breakthrough for the country's space program.
Kim was beaming from ear to ear as he and his generals applauded the successful test at the Sohae launch site yesterday.
The trial was intended to confirm the engine's thrust power and gauge the reliability of its control system and structural safety.
Kim hailed it 'a great event of historic significance' for the country's rocket industry.
The test was conducted as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was in China on a swing through Asia that has been closely focused on concerns over how to deal with Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs.
He also said the 'whole world will soon witness what eventful significance the great victory won today carries' and claimed the test marks what will be known as the 'March 18 revolution' in the development of the country's rocket industry.
The engine is to be used for North Korea's space and satellite-launching program.
North Korea is banned by the United Nations from conducting long-range missile tests, but it claims its satellite program is for peaceful use, a claim many in the U.S. and elsewhere believe is questionable.