The U.S. Army and South Korean military fired at least two surface-to-surface precision missiles into South Korean waters Wednesday, local time, as a joint demonstration of their attack capabilities in response to North Korea’s latest missile test.
North Korea announced Tuesday it had successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile, which state media claims reached an altitude of 1,741 miles, supposedly giving the regime the capability to strike Alaska with a nuclear warhead.
North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un celebrated the launch, calling it a “package of gifts” for “American bastards.”
The U.S. Army said its joint exercise with the South Korean military was a direct response to “North Korea’s destabilizing and unlawful actions on July 4.”
Oficials released footage Tuesday evening of the simultaneous launches of Army’s Tactical Missile System and South Korea’s Hyunmoo Missile II system.
The ATACMS is a mobile launch system capable of firing land-based missiles up to 185 miles away.
“The [South Korea]-U.S. alliance remains committed to peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula and throughout the Asia-Pacific. The U.S. commitment to the defense of [South Korea] in the face of threats is ironclad,” the Pentagon said in a statement.
Chief Pentagon spokeswoman Dana W. White said the U.S. is prepared to defend itself and its allies.
“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,” White said in a statement. “The United States seeks only the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson strongly condemned North Korea’s ICBM launch, calling it “a new escalation of the threat to the United States, our allies and partners, the region, and the world.”
“Global action is required to stop a global threat,” Tillerson said Tuesday. “Any country that hosts North Korean guest workers, provides any economic or military benefits, or fails to fully implement UN Security Council resolutions is aiding and abetting a dangerous regime.”
“The United States seeks only the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the end of threatening actions by North Korea. As we, along with others, have made clear, we will never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea,” Tillerson said.
President Donald Trump called on China to put pressure on North Korea to “end this nonsense once and for all” in a series of tweets Monday evening.
“North Korea has just launched another missile. Does this guy have anything better to do with his life?” Trump tweeted in reference to Kim Jong-un. “Hard to believe that South Korea and Japan will put up with this much longer. Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all!”