North Korea conducts ‘crucial test’ missile test

North Korean state media has reported that “another crucial test” was successfully conducted at the country’s Sohae Satellite Launching Ground late Friday.

It was not immediately clear what was tested, but the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that the test would bolster North Korea’s “reliable strategic nuclear deterrent.”

The launch occurred at around 10:45 p.m. local time.

South Korea’s Ministry of Defense said it was working with United States intelligence agencies to monitor activity in areas of interest, but was unable to “confirm specifics.”

News of the test follows a similar launch on December 7 that was labeled by North Korea as “very important.”

“The research successes being registered by us in defense science one after another recently will be applied to further bolstering up the reliable strategic nuclear deterrent of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” North Korean state media said in a report Saturday.

Earlier this month, North Korea warned it would send the US a “Christmas gift,” the contents of which would depend on the outcome of ongoing talks between Washington and Pyongyang.

In 2017, North Korea referred to its first test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) as a “gift” for the US on the Fourth of July holiday. That launch sparked what became a tense, months-long standoff between the two sides.

North Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations said last week that denuclearization was off the table in negotiations with the US, which he claimed had been a “time-saving trick” to benefit a “domestic political agenda.”