South Korea, US conduct missile drill in response to North Korea missile test

South Korea and the US military fired a volley of missiles into the sea in response to North Korea's launch of a ballistic missile over Japan.

 A tactical guided missile is launched, according to state media, at an undisclosed location in North Korea, in this photo released January 17, 2022 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). (photo credit: KCNA VIA REUTERS)
A tactical guided missile is launched, according to state media, at an undisclosed location in North Korea, in this photo released January 17, 2022 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
(photo credit: KCNA VIA REUTERS)

South Korea and the US military fired a volley of missiles into the sea in response to North Korea's launch of a ballistic missile over Japan, Seoul said on Wednesday, as Pyongyang's longest-range test yet drew international condemnation.

"As you know, there (have) been indications in the past that the DPRK is preparing a test for what would be its 7th nuclear test," Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder told a news briefing, referring to the North's formal name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

"If they do such a test, from our perspective, it will clearly constitute a grave escalatory action and seriously threaten regional and international security and stability."

Nuclear-armed North Korea test-fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) farther than ever before on Tuesday, sending it soaring over Japan for the first time in five years and prompting a warning for residents there to take cover.

South Korea and US troops responded to the missiles

 Missiles are launched during a joint exercise called the 'Great Prophet 17', in the southwest of Iran, December 24, 2021. Picture taken December 24, 2021.  (credit: SAEED SAJJADI/FARS NEWS/WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY)VIA REUTERS) Missiles are launched during a joint exercise called the 'Great Prophet 17', in the southwest of Iran, December 24, 2021. Picture taken December 24, 2021. (credit: SAEED SAJJADI/FARS NEWS/WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY)VIA REUTERS)

South Korean and American troops staged a missile drill of their own in response, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Wednesday.

Each side fired a pair of US-made ATACMS short-range ballistic missiles, according to a statement.

The military separately confirmed that a South Korean Hyunmoo-2 missile failed shortly after launch and crashed, but caused no casualties.

US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida condemned North Korea's test in the "strongest terms," the European Union called it a "reckless and deliberately provocative action", and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the launch and said it was a violation of Security Council resolutions.

The United States asked the UN Security Council to meet on North Korea on Wednesday but diplomats said China and Russia are opposed to a public discussion by the 15-member body.