North Korea’s successful launch Tuesday of its first ballistic missile capable of reaching the continental U.S. escalated a diplomatic face-off and threatened to shift the decades-old strategic balance in the Pacific.
The U.S. and South Korean militaries conducted a joint exercise on Wednesday morning local time, firing tactical surface-to-surface missiles into the waters off South Korea to counter what it called “North Korea’s destabilizing and unlawful actions.”
“The U.S. commitment to the defense of the ROK in the face of threats is ironclad,” the Eighth U.S. Army, which commands U.S. Army forces in South Korea, said in a statement. ROK is the abbreviation for South Korea’s formal name, the Republic of Korea.
Late Tuesday, the Trump administration denounced North Korea and demanded global action after concluding Pyongyang had launched an intercontinental ballistic missile.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. “strongly condemns” North Korea for the launch. “Testing an ICBM represents a new escalation of the threat to the United States, our allies and partners, the region, and the world,” he said.