US holds drills with Asian allies after North Korea’s ICBM launch
North Korea

US holds drills with Asian allies after North Korea’s ICBM launch

US holds drills with Asian allies after North Korea’s ICBM launch

The United States has held air exercises with South Korea and Japan involving strategic bombers, a day after North Korea fired a Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the exercises on Sunday demonstrated the allies’ “overwhelming” defence capabilities and readiness.

“[The exercises] strengthened the combined operation capability and affirmed the United States’ ironclad commitment to the defence of the Korean Peninsula and the implementation of extended deterrence,” South Korea’s military said in a statement.

Japan flew F-15 fighter jets over the Sea of Japan with US B-1 bombers and F-16 fighters, Japan’s defence ministry said in a statement. It called the security environment “increasingly severe” after the latest North Korean missile landed within its Exclusive Economic Zone.

The long-range ballistic missile landed in the sea off Japan’s west coast after North Korea warned of a strong response to the planned military drills by South Korea and the US.

State news agency KCNA said North Korea test-fired a Hwasong-15 from Pyongyang airport on Saturday in what it called a “surprise ICBM launching drill”.

KCNA said the missile flew 989km (615 miles) and travelled for just over an hour “before accurately hitting the pre-set area in open waters of the East Sea of Korea” – using the North Korean name for the Sea of Japan.

UN resolutions prohibit North Korea from testing ballistic missiles of any range, which – depending on their design – can also be equipped with a nuclear warhead.

It would be the first test of such a missile in more than a month.

The test was condemned “in the strongest terms” by the Group of Seven, the group of the leading seven world economies.

A statement released after a meeting of G7 foreign ministers at the Munich Security Conference called the attack a “blatant violation” of UN Security Council resolutions.

source: ajazeera