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US officials say N.Korea can produce its own missile engines

16 Aug 2017 | By Abheet Sethi

US intelligence officials said North Korea likely possesses the capability to produce its own missile engine and doesn't need to rely on imports.

This disputes a new study by London-based think tank International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) which said the North likely sourced missile engines made in factories in Ukraine or Russia through the black market.

The North is developing nuclear-capable missiles.

In context: N.Korea no longer reliant on foreign missile components

03 Jul 2017N.Korea tests a missile that can reach 'anywhere in world'

On July 3, North Korea said it had successfully tested a long-range nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

It said the missile is capable of striking anywhere in the world.

North Korean state television reported that the Hwasong-14 missile's launch was overseen by leader Kim Jong-Un.

Earlier, the US military had said a North Korean ballistic missile had landed in the Sea of Japan.

29 Jul 2017North Korea successfully tests ICBM, Trump calls it "reckless"

On July 29, North Korea claimed it has successfully tested a nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), calling it a "stern warning" for the US.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un claimed the entire US was within striking range, thanks to the test.

The regime had also tested an ICBM three weeks ago.

US President Donald Trump called the latest test a "reckless and dangerous action."

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16 Aug 2017US officials say N.Korea can produce its own missile engines

What the IISS report stated

ReportWhat the IISS report stated

The IISS study looked into photographs released by North Korea of missile engines in the Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile and the Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile.

The study found that the engines were likely modified versions of the RD-250 rockets produced by Ukrainian state-owned factory Yuzhmash, previously part of the Soviet Union.

The RD-250 could explain the successes of the North Korean missile tests.

AllegationsReport's author believes corrupt network in Ukraine may be responsible

Michael Elleman, a missile expert and author of the IISS study said it's unlikely that the Ukrainian government was responsible for transferring the missile technology to North Korea.

He noted that "corrupt networks of people" in Ukraine may be responsible.

Elleman's accusations, if confirmed, would dampen the Trump administration's rhetoric, blaming Chinese-linked entities as the main support base for the North's missile program.

ResponseUkraine denies report of supplying missile tech to N. Korea

Ukraine has denied supplying defense technology to North Korea.

Yuzhmash said it hasn't manufactured military-grade ballistic missile engines since its separation from the Soviet Union in 1991.

The US supports Ukraine in its fight against Russian-backed separatists in the ongoing conflict for Crimea.

US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert has praised Ukraine's efforts to stop weapons proliferation, especially to North Korea.