South Korea and the United States held extraordinary anti-ballistic missile drill on Wednesday in show of joint muscles after Pyongyang fired what it claims to be its first successful launch of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.
Seoul and Washington separately held national security council meetings immediately after the missile test on Tuesday morning. Korean President Moon Jae-in during the meeting called for “resolute actions” beyond rhetorical condemnation.
Seoul called up U.S. National Security Adviser Herbert McMaster and received hearty go-ahead from U.S. President Donald Trump for an unscheduled missile exercise.
The live-fire drill, which is the first of its kind to be held directly in response to North Korea’s missile provocation, comes after Pyongyang on Tuesday announced that it has test-launched Hwasong-14 missile at 9:40 a.m. toward the East Sea from Banghyun area in North Pyongan Province. It claimed that the long-range missile hit an altitude of 2,802 kilometers (1,741 miles) and flew 933 kilometers before reaching target waters. Experts believe if the missile was launched at lower trajectory instead of straight up, it could fly as far as 8,000km, fulfilling the criteria to be an ICBM.
Moon fresh from summit talks with Trump in Washington expressed “deep disappointment” toward North Korea’s missile launch and strongly condemned the action.
The live-fire drill staged by South Korea and the U.S. began at 7 a.m. on Wednesday and involved the two countries’ guided missile units firing missiles into the East Sea. Missiles included the South’s ballistic missile Hyunmoo-2 and the U.S. Eighth Army’s surface-to-surface missile Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS). The Joint Chiefs of Staff said that the two allies displayed their precision strike capability against enemy leadership in case of emergency.
By Ahn Doo-won and Oh Soo-hyun
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