Seoul, South Korea
The United States and South Korea launched four missiles off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula on Wednesday morning local time, according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The test was the allies’ second exercise in under 24 hours, following a provocative test-launch Tuesday morning by neighboring North Korea, which fired a ballistic missile without warning over Japan in a significant escalation of its weapons testing program.
The US and South Korea initially responded to the provocation with a precision bombing exercise on Tuesday, which involved a South Korean F-15K fighter jet firing two air-to-surface munitions at a virtual target in a firing range west of the Korean Peninsula, per the South Korean joint chiefs.
The allies typically respond to missile tests by North Korea with military exercises.
Wednesday’s launch included four ATACMS missiles, the statement by the South Korean joint chiefs said. Also known as Army Tactical Missile Systems, such weapons are surface-to-surface missiles that can fly around 200 miles (320 kilometers).
According to John Kirby, the National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications, the launch was designed to demonstrate that the US and their allies have “the military capabilities at the ready to respond to provocations by the North.”
“This is not the first time we’ve done this in response to provocations by the North to make sure that we can demonstrate our own capabilities,” Kirby told CNN’s Pamela Brown on the “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.”
“We want to see the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, (North Korean leader Kim Jong Un) hasn’t shown an inclination to move in that direction, quite frankly he’s moving in the opposite direction by continuing to conduct these missile tests which are violations of security council resolutions,” he added.