A day after North Korea launched its latest ballistic missile and bragged on its state-run TV about being a “full-fledged nuclear power,” the U.S. and South Korea conducted a joint missile drill of their own Wednesday.
In a joint statement with Gen. Lee Sun Jin, chairman of South Korea’s joint chiefs, Gen. Vincent Brooks, commander of U.S. forces in Korea, cautioned the north against provoking war.
“Self restraint, which is a choice, is all that separates armistice and war,” the generals said. “As this Alliance missile live fire shows, we are able to change our choice when so ordered by our Alliance national leaders. It would be a grave mistake for anyone to believe anything to the contrary.”
The allies said despite North Korea’s “repeated provocation,” they are “maintaining patience and self-restraint.”
“The ROK-U.S. Alliance remains committed to security and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula and throughout the Asia-Pacific region,” the statement says.
A North Korean official bragged in a TV broadcast that the communist country’s missile technology has the ability to reach anywhere in the world, though experts say its ballistic missiles could only fly as far as Alaska as far as the U.S. is concerned, The Atlantic reported.
U.S. officials said they tracked the North Korean missile for 37 minutes until it landed in the Sea of Japan, USA Today reported.