President Donald Trump voices mild optimism about ties with North Korea

A U.S. Air Force U-2 Dragon Lady takes part in a drill at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek South Korea August 21. Lee Sang-hak  Yonhap via REUTERS

A U.S. Air Force U-2 Dragon Lady takes part in a drill at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek South Korea August 21. Lee Sang-hak Yonhap via REUTERS

The South Korean news agency Yonhap reported Tuesday that Kim - who dropped out of the public eye from late July to mid-August - inspected troops near South Korea's outpost in Yeoncheon, which is close to the 2.5-mile-wide demilitarized zone that divides the warring countries.

On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that Washington hopes that the level of restraint North Korea has demonstrated after the new UN Security Council resolution could lead to dialogue with Pyongyang in near future.

"If I understand North Korean propaganda, this is their way of telling us what we'll see in the air in the coming year".

"Ability to make wound-filament solid rocket casings would be significant for North Korea's solid fuel ballistic missile program".

The comments by Mr Tillerson, the top U.S. diplomat, were far more conciliatory than previous warnings from Mr Trump, who said earlier this month that further threats from Mr Kim's regime would be met with "fire and fury".

The state-run Korean Central News Agency reported on Wednesday that Mr Kim asked for increased production of solid-fuel engines and rocket warhead tips.

Get the picture? North Korea wants the United States to be scared, really scared. A photograph showed Kim in a grey pinstriped suit, smiling before a large flow chart that described some kind of manufacturing process.

The institute produces intercontinental ballistic missile warheads and also develops carbon compound materials used in rocket engines.

"We have diagrams and names on two apparent new solid fuel multistage North Korean nuclear capable missiles", one of them an ICBM and the other a medium- or intermediate-range device, said Herbert.

Questions remain whether the North has mastered the technology needed to ensure a ballistic missile warhead survives the intense heat generated by re-entering the Earth's atmosphere.

Carbon-carbon composites are used to manufacture missile warhead tips and engine exhaust nozzles, KCNA said.

North Korea and President Donald Trump also traded a series of bellicose statements earlier this month that raised fears an actual conflict could break out, although tensions have subsided somewhat after Kim said he was putting on hold a plan to fire missiles into the waters near Guam.

"The U.S. will be wholly held accountable for the catastrophic consequences to be entailed by such reckless aggressive war maneuvers, as it chose a military confrontation [with North Korea]", a North Korean military spokesman said to KCNA.

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