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People's Daily Online

U.S., South Korea stage joint missile drill after DPRK tests ICBM

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 16:33, July 05, 2017

The United States and South Korea have staged a missile drill by firing missiles into the Sea of Japan, in response to the latest missile launch by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

The Eighth U.S. Army and South Korean servicemen conducted a combined event to counter the DPRK's missile test on Tuesday, utilizing the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) and South Korea's Hyunmoo Missile II, according to a statement issued by the U.S. Forces Korea on Wednesday.

Emphasizing the system can be rapidly deployed, the statement said the deep precision strike capability enables the U.S.-South Korea alliance to engage the critical targets under all weather conditions.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confirmed on Tuesday that the DPRK's latest missile test was an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

Calling the test "a new escalation of the threat" to the United States, its allies and the world, Tillerson said in a statement that the United States intends to bring the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue before the UN Security Council and enact stronger measures against the DPRK.

While stressing that the United States will not accept a nuclear-armed DPRK, Tillerson said the United States seeks only the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

According to an earlier statement by the U.S. Pacific Command, the U.S. military detected and tracked what it assessed was a DPRK missile launch at 2:40 p.m. Hawaii time Monday (0040 GMT Tuesday) near the Panghyon Airfield.

The DPRK declared Tuesday that it successfully launched an ICBM on the day, hailing it 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 defense capabilities to counter U.S. threats.

The Korean Central Television reported in a special program that top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un signed the order to carry out the test-firing of the ICBM Hwasong-14 on Monday and personally conducted the launch, before "declaring before the world its shining success."

The DPRK Academy of Defense Science said the missile blasted off from the northwestern part of the DPRK at 09:00 a.m. (0030 GMT) Tuesday to make a 39-minute flight along its pre-set trajectory before accurately hitting the target waters in the open sea in the East Sea of Korea (Sea of Japan), according to the Korean Central News Agency.

South Korea on Tuesday strongly denounced the DPRK's firing of the ballistic missile.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a statement that the DPRK fired off the ballistic missile into its eastern waters from an area near Banghyeon, North Pyongan province in the DPRK's northwest region at around 9:40 a.m. local time (0040 GMT).

Meanwhile, China said it opposes the DPRK's missile launch, which is in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

"China urges the DPRK to refrain from acts that violate UN Security Council resolutions so as to create necessary conditions for resuming dialogue and negotiation," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang told a regular news briefing.

Given the complex and sensitive situation on the Korean Peninsula, China hopes all sides can exercise calm and restraint to ease tensions there and return to the right path of peaceful dialogue, the spokesperson said.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Tuesday strongly condemned the launch of a ballistic missile by the DPRK.

"This action is yet another brazen violation of Security Council resolutions and constitutes a dangerous escalation of the situation," UN chief spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.

The UN chief called on the DPRK leadership to cease further provocative actions and comply fully with its international obligations.

UN Security Council resolutions ban the DPRK from conducting any launches that use ballistic missile technology, nuclear tests or any other provocation.

The UN Security Council is scheduled to hold an open meeting on Wednesday on the latest DPRK missile launch, at the request of the U.S. mission to the UN, a diplomat said on condition of anonymity.

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