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N. Korea conducted missile engine test last year: sources
SEOUL, July 24 (Yonhap) -- North Korea conducted a rocket engine test for a long-range missile at a newly built missile launch site in the country's northwest last year ahead of the November shelling of a South Korean border island, a government source said Sunday.

   The October test at the Dongchang-ri launch site was carried out during a time of the day when U.S. satellites were able to spot the test, an apparent indication that the communist nation intended to show off its missile capabilities, the high-level source said.

   The North had conducted a similar rocket engine test at the site in 2008.

   The communist nation began the construction of the Dongchang-ri site in 2001 and has built a 30-meter-high launch tower there, but the overall construction of the site is not considered to have been fully completed, the source said.

   A military source said that there are signs of construction of a railway between the missile site and a nearby train station in an effort to transport construction materials to the site to complete the construction.

   The source said, however, that there are no indications of an immediate launch at the site.

   North Korea's missile program has long been considered a threat to regional security along with its nuclear weapons program. The North last test-fired its most advanced Taepodong-2 long-range missile in 2009.

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