The United States and South Korea flexed muscle in the vicinity of Korean peninsula on Saturday, a day after North Korea allegedly launched an intercontinental ballistic test missile to threaten the U.S.
In a joint statement, Washington and Seoul announced missile exercises to assert that the U.S. and Republic of Korea alliance can handle North Korea’s advances. Four missiles launched by both countries on Saturday reportedly landed not very far from where DPRK’s ICBM missile is believed to have landed on Friday, as per news reports. The exercise demonstrated U.S.’s Army Tactical Missile System and its ally’s Hyunmoo II missiles, the allies claimed. Both ATACMS and Hyunmoo are surface-to-surface missiles with a range of around 300 km.
“The ROK-U.S. Alliance remains ironclad and our combined efforts showcase the capabilities of this Alliance,” said Lt. Gen. Thomas Vandal, Eighth Army Commander. “I assure you we are ready to fight tonight, will deter North Korean provocation and if necessary defend the Republic of Korea.”
The U.S. and South Korea claimed that they responded within hours of North Korea launching its missile that landed in the Sea of Japan. The allies have maintained that the launch does not threaten the U.S., but news of North Korea’s actions have set alarm bells ringing.
“The missile was launched from Mupyong-ni and traveled approximately 1000 km before splashing down in the waters east of the Korean Peninsula. The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) determined the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America.”
However, expert assessments of flight stats suggest the missile could hit mainland U.S. A scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists quoted by Daily Mail stated, the missile could easily reach the West Coast and threaten many cities in the U.S. The response exercise carried out on Saturday by the allies was the second of its kind this month.
The scientist, David Wright, said North Korea’s Hwasong missiles can not only target the U.S. but could also travel further if the rotation of the earth is considered. “The missile flown on a standard trajectory the missile would have a range 10,400 km (6,500 miles), not taking into account the Earth’s rotation,” he said. That puts L.A., Chicago, Denver and many other major cities in Kim Jong-un’s crosshair.
Friday’s news of ICBM launch by North Korea comes three weeks after a previously suspected test-firing. Though the U.S. maintained it was not threatened by that launch, experts asserted it should be. Like the missile test on Friday, the previous launch of a Hwasong 14 missile on July 4 was supervised by Kim Jong-un. A video released by North Korea’s state news broadcaster shows Kim discussing with his subordinates at the site of Friday’s launch. News reports from North Korea also claimed that the nation’s leader was “greatly satisfied” with the launch while asserting that his country now has the firepower to hit the U.S.
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