Story highlights

The state has made many weapons development claims this year

Hostility is running high as it usually does every year during spring military exercises

Seoul, South Korea CNN  — 

North Korea tested a new engine for an intercontinental ballistic missile, according to its state-run news agency.

In a clear challenge to the United States, the KCNA proclaimed: “The great success made in the test provided a firm guarantee for mounting another form of nuclear attack upon the U.S. imperialists and other hostile forces.”

This is the latest in a litany of reports made by the North Korean regime about its weapons development. This year alone, the country has that said it successfully conducted a hydrogen bomb test and miniaturized nuclear warheads to fit on ballistic missiles.

South Korea: North Korea may have mid-range nuclear capability

There is little so far in the way of confirming the latest North Korean report.

Its leader Kim Jong Un ordered the test, which he oversaw at the Sohae Space Center, according to the KCNA.

The news agency quoted Kim as saying, “Now the DPRK can tip new type inter-continental ballistic rockets with more powerful nuclear warheads and keep any cesspool of evils in the earth including the U.S. mainland within our striking range and reduce them to ashes so that they may not survive in our planet.”

KCNA lauded that the latest technology was developed by North Korean scientists in what was called an “eye-catching event which demonstrated our national defense capability before the world.”

Such bombastic rhetoric and annual threats are common from North Korea during this time of the year. Every spring, tensions on the peninsula increases as U.S. forces hold joint military exercises with South Korea. The two exercises, “Key Resolve” and “Foal Eagle,” will run until April 30.

In recent months, the regime has also threatened “preemptive and offensive nuclear strike” several times. It even made a propaganda film portraying nuclear war with United States as a bomb strikes Washington, D.C. Such imagery has also been seen in previous years.

CNN’s KJ Kwon reported from Seoul and Madison Park wrote from the U.S.