North Korea has claimed it has successfully tested a rocket that will let it launch nuclear strikes on the United States.

An intercontinental ballistic rocket engine would be a huge step forward for the North Korean regime, which has been stepping up its atomic tests and rhetoric in recent months and claims to have tested a hydrogen bomb successfully for the first time.

If the reports about the new rocket are true, it would allow the country to launch nuclear missiles that could reach the US.

North Korea has recently threatened the US and other countries with pre-emptive nuclear strikes — and fired missiles into the sea — in what appears to be a response to ongoing US-South Korean military drills and tough UN sanctions that were imposed in the wake of its recent nuclear tests. Those acts of aggression have included a propaganda video that showed a nuclear attack on Washington.

The successful test of the new rocket was announced by the state Korean Central News Agency.

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