The US and South Korea have now conducted a joint military exercise to respond to North Korea’s launch, firing their own missile into the South’s territorial waters.
North Korea announced on Tuesday that it had tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile — potentially its most powerful weapon yet, and one possibly capable of reaching the United States.
The announcement came hours after US and South Korean defense officials said North Korea had launched a missile from the country’s North Phyongan province that reached an altitude of 2,500 kilometers (1,500 miles) and was tracked for 37 minutes before it fell in the Sea of Japan.
“Respected Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un signed the order to carry out the test-fire of inter-continental ballistic rocket Hwasong-14 on July 3,” a statement from the Korean Central News Agency said.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confirmed North Korea’s launch of the intercontinental ballistic missile in a statement Tuesday evening, saying the US “strongly condemns” the test and calling on other nations to follow suit.
He called the missile 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 wrote. “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 US Army, alongside the South Korean military, initiated a counter-response in the region on Wednesday local time, the Army said in a statement.
The exercise involved firing a South Korean-developed Hyunmoo missile into the South’s territorial waters, “countering North Korea’s destabilizing and unlawful actions.”
“The [Republic of Korea]-US Alliance remains committed to peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula and throughout the Asia-Pacific,” the Army said.
The announcer also claimed the country’s missile had reached a height of 2,802 kilometers (1,731 miles) and flew 933 kilometers for 39 minutes.
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