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North Korea does it again, conducts another rocket engine test

North Korea has carried out another test of a rocket engine that the United States believes could be part of its program to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile, a U.S. official told Reuters on Thursday.

President Moon Jae-In heads to Washington next week to meet Trump for the first time since taking office in May, as tensions soar on the Korean peninsula over Kim Jong-Un's nuclear weapons programme.

North Korea conducted three rocket engine tests in March.

The continental United States is around 5,600 miles (9,000 km) from North Korea. "But we will not comment on intelligence", Navy commander Gary Ross said in a emailed statement, declining to confirm the rocket engine test. It's been only three months since that first test, and if the regime has indeed successfully tested the final stage, many experts believe the North has almost completed its ICBM technology and will soonl be able to put more pressure on Washington.

It can be used to build Intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The news of another rocket engine test by Pyongyang comes as an U.S. official said on Wednesday there were signs of increased activity at North Korea's lone nuclear test site.

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Outside observers say Pyongyang's space programme is a fig leaf for weapons tests.

American officials said that the test was probably conducted in the past 24 hours and could represent one more step in the regime's efforts to create an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting the United States.

A midrange ballistic missile was launched from a test site in Hawaii, but an interceptor missile launched from USS John Paul Jones missed the target, the agency said.

China's top diplomat met Trump at the White House on Thursday, where he said Beijing was willing to keep working with Washington to defuse tensions on the Korean peninsula, China's foreign ministry said.

South Korea's unification ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs, reiterated an assessment by military authorities here that the North is continuing activities aimed at advancing its missile capabilities.

In April, North Korea unveiled what could be a new ICBM at a giant military parade in a show of strength.

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