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Iran Press TV

US, S Korea conducting live-fire exercise in response to N Korea: Official

Iran Press TV

Fri Jul 28, 2017 7:39PM

The United States and South Korea are conducting a military exercise in response to North Korea's launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the Pentagon says.

The two countries' military forces are using surface-to-surface missiles, according to a US defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity on Friday.

"We are doing a live-fire exercise in response to North Korea's missile launch," the official told AFP.

Also, the US 8th Army said the drill by its troops and the South Korean army was carried out to show their "precision firing capability" and "exercise assets countering North Korea's missile launch."

The military officials of the two countries earlier on the day discussed "military" options against North Korea for launching an ICBM.

Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis confirmed Friday that North Korea had launched an ICBM which flew for approximately 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) and crashed into Japan's maritime exclusive economic zone.

"We assess that this was an ICBM; this is a launch that had been expected," Davis said.

Following the test, General Joe Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Admiral Harry Harris, who heads the US military's Pacific Command, held a phone conversation with South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, General Lee Sun Jin.

"During the call, Dunford and Harris expressed the ironclad commitment to the US-Republic of Korea alliance," Dunford's office said in a statement.

"The three leaders also discussed military response options."

Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Ministry issued a statement, saying that the missile's "characteristics were those of a medium-range ballistic missile."

According to the statement, the missile reached an altitude of 681 kilometers (420 miles) and flew for 732 kilometers before landing in the Sea of Japan, the statement said.

The missile launch was lamented by the European Union, which said the country posed "a serious threat to international peace and security."

Also, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe criticized Pyongyang for launching another missile and called a meeting of the National Security Council.

Trump: Weapons tests will further isolate North Korea

US President Donald Trump also criticized North Korea for conducting the test, calling it a "reckless and dangerous" action that will "further isolate" the country.

"The United States condemns this test and rejects the regime's claim that these tests -- and these weapons -- ensure North Korea's security. In reality, they have the opposite effect," Trump said in a statement on Friday.

He said that such actions will also "weaken its (North Korea's) economy, and deprive its people," adding the US will take all necessary measures to "ensure the security of the American homeland and protect our allies in the region."

North Korea is under mounting international pressure over its missile and nuclear development programs, but it says it needs to continue and develop its missile force as a deterrent to defend the nation in the face of the US and its regional allies' hegemony.

On the 4th of July, the US Independence Day, Pyongyang test-fired an ICBM capable of delivering a "large, heavy nuclear warhead" to the US continent.

The test was conducted just hours after Trump and Abe agreed to exert further pressure on Pyongyang over its weapons programs.

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