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Seoul — North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has ordered more solid-fuel rocket engines, state media reported on Wednesday, as he pursues nuclear and missile programmes amid a stand-off with Washington, but there were signs of tension easing. The report carried by the KCNA news agency lacked the traditionally robust threats against the US after weeks of unbridled acrimony, and US President Donald Trump expressed optimism about a possible improvement in relations. "I respect the fact that he is starting to respect us," Trump said of Kim at a raucous campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona. "And maybe — probably not, but maybe — something positive can come about." The KCNA report, about a visit by Kim to a chemical institute, came not long after US secretary of state Rex Tillerson appeared to make a peace overture, welcoming what he called recent restraint shown by the reclusive North and said on Tuesday that he hoped a path could be opening for dialogue. Kim was briefed about the process of ma...

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