North Korea has conducted successful tests of a new type of high-powered rocket engine to guide the country's satellites into space, the state-run Korean Central News Agency reported Tuesday, adding to fears of the country's nuclear capabilities.

Coming just 11 days after a controversial nuclear test, the most recent revelations heap on the concern about how far the country's rocket capabilities have progressed and what it plans to do with them.

Analysts routinely say the work on the satellite plan is camouflage for the country's true intent: advances in missiles that could be used to launch nuclear weapons.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visited the Sohae Space Centre in the west of the country to monitor the test and expressed "great satisfaction" about the results, the report said. He also urged technicians to finish preparations for a satellite launch "as soon as possible."

Doing so would "bring the news of greater victory to the people who have steadfastly lived and struggled under the leadership of the party, unwaveringly trusting it," he was quoted as saying.

Although the new rocket engines are for "earth observation satellites," the tests are the latest in a recent series of rocket and nuclear tests in North Korea. Many analysts fear the technology could easily be repurposed for launching nuclear weapons.

"This test represents an anticipated and significant step in the continued development of larger, more advanced space launch vehicles," read a statement on the 38north website, a group of experts that keeps track of North Korea.

The South Korean military said the test was clearly an effort to check out whether North Korea's existing technology could be used for long-range rockets. Experts say there is, essentially, no difference between a rocket that could be used for launching satellites and one that could be used for firing intercontinental missiles.

On September 9, Pyongyang said it carried out its fifth nuclear test, possibly its biggest ever, an act that drew international condemnation amid concerns about an acceleration in its nuclear capabilities.

North Korea has also shot two satellites into space, the most recent in February.

Because North Korea has refused to participate in international agreements to control the spread of nuclear technology - and because it is not officially recognized as a nuclear power - its attempts to gain nuclear and rocket technology routinely prompt backlashes from the international community.

The United Nations Security Council in March bolstered a set of sanctions against North Korea because of an earlier rocket launch and nuclear test. Further sanctions were already being considered after the September 9 nuclear test.

Related stories

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.