US, South Korea Drill as Tillerson Calls for 'Global Action' on North Korea
Albanian Daily News
Published July 5, 2017
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson strongly condemned North Korea's intercontinental ballistic missile launch, calling it "a new escalation of the threat to the United States, our allies and partners, the region, and the world" in a statement Tuesday.
"Global action is required to stop a global threat," he said. "Any country that hosts North Korean guest workers, provides any economic or military benefits, or fails to fully implement UN Security Council resolutions is aiding and abetting a dangerous regime."
Tillerson also called for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and stated the US "will never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea."
North Korea claimed Wednesday that it was just that. A statement from Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency said Tuesday's test was of a new, nuclear-capable ICBM.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called it an Independence Day present to the US, adding "we should deliver big and small presents often," KCNA said.
Tillerson's strong statement marks a striking contrast to when North Korea conducted a test in April and Tillerson said: "North Korea launched yet another intermediate-range ballistic missile. The United States has spoken enough about North Korea. We have no further comment."
The Pentagon late Tuesday confirmed North Korea's test was an ICBM.
"The launch continues to demonstrate that North Korea poses a threat to the United States and our allies," a Pentagon statement said.
North Korea said the missile flew on a steep trajectory, going 2,800 kilometers (1,741 miles) above the Earth, before splashing down in sea off the Korean Peninsula 930 kilometers (578 miles) from its launch site.
Analysts said if the missile were fired on a standard, flatter trajectory it would be capable of reaching Alaska.
The US and South Korea also announced they had conducted a joint exercise in response to North Korea's launch. A South Korean statement said the drill which was "intended as a strong warning against North Korean provocation" took place along South Korea's eastern coastline and "showcased precision targeting of the enemy's leadership in case of an emergency."
The drill is a clear signal from the Pentagon that the US and South Korea have no intention of stopping joint military exercises in exchange for North Korea halting its missile and nuclear testing, as China and Russia earlier suggested.
Earlier a US official told CNN that the US had "high confidence" that Monday's launch was an ICBM.