South Korea’s military conducted a “precision missile strike drill” just minutes after North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Tuesday around 1:30 p.m. EST.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missile strike matched the flight distance of North Korea’s missile and landed in the waters off the east coast of South Korea, CNN reported.
He also said the drill was carried out to test a scenario of hitting a target through the land, air and sea, CNN reported.
“South Korea apparently used this launch to prove it has the ability to hit the North’s mobile missile launchers or leadership targets,” said Adam Mount, a senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists.
“It is a measured and pointed response, but also a reminder that the peninsula remains on hair trigger alert,” Mount told CNN. “In this situation, provocations or even mistakes could quickly escalate out of control.”
While at the White House, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said South Korea “fired some pinpoint missiles out into the water to make certain North Korea understands that they could be taken under fire by our ally,” Fox News reported.
Speaking on North Korea’s missile launch, Secretary Mattis said the missile test went “higher, frankly, than any previous shot they have taken,” and that North Korea can hit “everywhere in the world, basically.”
North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile on Tuesday, its first launch since being declared a state sponsor of terror earlier this month.
Pentagon Spokesman Col. Robert Manning said the missile was launched from Sain Ni and traveled more than 600 miles before entering the Sea of Japan, within Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The ICBM was reportedly in flight for about 50 minutes.
“The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) determined the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America, our territories or our allies,” Manning said in a Pentagon statement. “Our commitment to the defense of our allies, including the Republic of Korea and Japan, in the face of these threats, remains ironclad. We remain prepared to defend ourselves and our allies from any attack or provocation.”
“We will take care of it,” Trump said at the White House, according to CNN, adding that North Korea “is a situation that we will handle.”