The United States and South Korea have fired surface-to-surface missiles in reaction to North Korea’s recent test-launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
US and South Korean forces conducted simultaneous launches from the US Army Tactical Missile System and South Korea’s Hyunmoo Missile II system on Tuesday.
A South Korean military spokesperson described the move by Washington and Seoul as a “joint missile drill.”
“This joint missile launch drill executed by South Korea and the US is an expression of the two countries’ firm resolution to never tolerate any kind of provocation from North Korea,” said Roh Jae-cheon, the chief of public affairs at the South Korean Joint Chief of Staff (JCS).
The United States Army said in a statement that the drills showed both the US and South Korea’s military capability to “engage the full array of time critical targets under all weather conditions.”
The Army added that the missiles used in the joint drill featured “deep strike precision capability.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Pyongyang conducted an ICBM test (above footage). All technical specifications and functions of the ICBM missile were reported to be successful.
Stage separation, atmospheric re-entry of the warhead, and the late-stage control of the warhead were all verified, North Korea’s official news agency KCNA reported.
Experts said the ICBM, launched on July 4, the US Independence Day, was powerful enough to reach parts of US mainland.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un personally oversaw the launch of the missile and “expressed satisfaction” with the achievement.
Following the test, the Pentagon said it was prepared to defend the US and its allies against the increased threat from Pyongyang.
“We remain prepared to defend ourselves and our allies and to use the full range of capabilities at our disposal against the growing threat from North Korea,” said Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White.
“Our commitment to the defense of our allies, the Republic of Korea and Japan, in the face of these threats, remains ironclad.”
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres also condemned Pyongyang’s missile test. “This action is yet another brazen violation of Security Council resolutions and constitutes a dangerous escalation of the situation,” he said.
Pyongyang says needs missile development as well as its military nuclear program to guard against a potential US invasion.—Agencies