South Korea And US Launch Ballistic Missiles And Tactical Missiles
Illustration of the US Army and South Korean ATACM MGM-140 ATACM launch exercise. (Wikimedia Commons/US Army)

JAKARTA - South Korea and the United States launched joint missile missiles, in response to a salvo of three North Korean missile launches, hours after President Joe Biden concluded a visit to Asia.

North Korea fired three missiles, including one it considers an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Wednesday. South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said three missiles were fired in less than an hour from the Sunan area of the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, where its international airport has become a missile test centre.

The first missile launched on Wednesday appeared to be an ICBM, while the second unidentified missile appeared to have failed mid-flight, the JCS said. While the third missile is a short-range ballistic missile (SRBM).

In response, the United States and South Korea held joint live-fire drills, including a surface-to-surface missile test involving the US Army's MGM-140 Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) and the South's Hyunmoo-2 SRBM, both militaries said.

"Our display of military might is meant to highlight our determination to resolutely respond to any North Korean provocations, including ICBM launches, and our extraordinary capability and readiness to carry out surgical strikes at the origin of provocations," the JCS said.

North Korea has carried out a series of missile launches this year, ranging from hypersonic weapons to its largest ever test-firing of an ICBM for the first time in nearly five years. It also appears to be preparing for what will be its first nuclear test since 2017.

US and South Korean officials recently warned that North Korea appeared poised for another weapons test, possibly during Biden's visit, which is his first trip to Asia as president and includes a summit with South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol in Seoul.

"North Korea's continued provocations will only result in a stronger, faster South Korea-US deterrence and bring a deeper isolation upon itself," the Yoon government said in a separate statement.

Meanwhile, South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also agreed to step up diplomatic efforts, to strengthen expanded deterrence and facilitate resolution of new UN sanctions in a phone call, the Seoul ministry said.

"We call on the DPRK to refrain from further provocations and engage in sustained and substantive dialogue," a State Department spokesman said, using the initials of North Korea's official name.


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