UPDATE 1-N.Korea carries out "very significant" test at satellite launch site -KCNA

UPDATE 1-N.Korea carries out "very significant" test at satellite launch site -KCNA

(Adds context on test site, no South Korea comment)

SEOUL, Dec 8 (Reuters) – North Korea has carried out a “very significant” test at its Sohae satellite launch site, state media KCNA reported on Sunday, a rocket testing ground that U.S. officials once said North Korea had promised to close.

The KCNA report did not specify what was tested, but the site has previously been used to launch rockets into space as well as test missile engines.

KCNA said the test results would be used for upgrading the country’s strategic status.

There was no immediate comment from the South Korean military, which usually issues alerts if a missile is seen launching from North Korea.

The reported test comes as North Korea has warned it could take a “new path” amid stalled denuclearisation talks with the United States.

Tensions have risen ahead of a year-end deadline set by North Korea, which has called on the United States to change its policy of insisting on Pyongyang’s unilateral denuclearisation and demanded relief from punishing sanctions.

Analysts have said the site has never before been used to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile, but it has been used to test missile engines and past satellite launches have helped scuttle talks with the United States.

U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters in June 2018 after his first summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that North Korea had pledged to dismantle one of its missile installations, which U.S. officials later identified as Sohae. (Reporting by Josh Smith; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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