North Korea’s test-launch of a missile capable of reaching the United States drew a swift reaction from the U.S. Army and South Korean military, which in turn launched at least two surface-to-surface missiles as a demonstration of their attack capability.
U.S. Army officials on Tuesday evening released videos and photos of simultaneous launches from the Army Tactical Missile System and South Korea’s Hyunmoo Missile II system. The Army Tactical Missile System is a mobile launch system for firing land-based missiles up to 185 miles, with high explosive warheads of up to 500 pounds. The two missiles were deliberately fired into South Korean waters Wednesday, local time, in a demonstration of the systems’ capabilities, the Army said. The specific launch site wasn't disclosed.
“The deep strike precision capability enables the (Republic of Korea)-U.S. Alliance to engage the full array of time critical targets under all weather conditions," the Eighth U.S. Army said in a statement. “The (Republic of 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 the (Republic of Korea) in the face of threats is ironclad.”
The North Korean launch and retaliatory U.S.-South Korea actions come as U.S. officials use increasingly strong language to condemn and warn North Korea.
“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,” chief Pentagon spokeswoman Dana W. White said in a statement. “The United States seeks only the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Our commitment to the defense of our allies, the Republic of Korea and Japan, in the face of these threats, remains ironclad.”
Tuesday evening, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confirmed the intercontinental ballistic missile launch and called it a “new escalation” of the threat. He vowed to bring additional international pressure on the 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 in a statement. The U.S., along with Japan and South Korea, requested an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council, which is expcted to be held Wednesday, the Associated Press reported.
“Global action is required to stop a global threat. Any country that hosts North Korean guest workers, provides any economic or military benefits, or fails to fully implement U.N. Security Council resolutions is aiding and abetting a dangerous regime. All nations should publicly demonstrate to North Korea that there are consequences to their pursuit of nuclear weapons.”