Washington, July 5 (IANS) The US and South Korea on Wednesday staged joint ballistic missile exercises a day after North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that experts say may reach Alaska.
The Eighth US Army and South Korean servicemen conducted a combined event to counter North Korea’s Tuesday missile test, utilising the Army Tactical Missile System and South Korea’s Hyunmoo Missile II, the US Forces Korea said in a statement.
Emphasising that the system can be rapidly deployed, the statement said the deep precision strike capability enabled the US-South Korea alliance to engage the critical targets under all-weather conditions, Xinhua news agency reported.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confirmed that North Korea’s latest missile test was an ICBM.
Calling the test “a new escalation of the threat” to the US, its allies and the world, Tillerson said the US intends to bring the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue before the UNSC and enact stronger measures against North Korea.
North Korea hailed its successful missile launch as a “final gate to rounding off the state nuclear force”. It lauded the launch of the ICBM as a historic event in boosting its defence capabilities to counter US threats.
The Korean Central Television reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un signed the order to carry out the test-firing of the ICBM Hwasong-14 and personally conducted the launch.
Apart from the US, South Korea and China, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres also strongly condemned Pyongyang’s missile launch.
“This action is yet another brazen violation of Security Council resolutions and constitutes a dangerous escalation of the situation,” UN chief’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.
The UN Security Council was scheduled to hold an open meeting on Wednesday on the issue at the request of the US mission to the UN, a diplomat said.