New warning.

South Korea and the United States launched several missiles at sea targets on Wednesday, the day after Pyongyang fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) that flew over Japan on Tuesday.

A first in five years which had led Tokyo to activate its alert system.

According to the South Korean General Staff, the South Korean and American armies on Wednesday each fired two ATACMS short-range ballistic missiles "to precisely hit a virtual target" in the Sea of ​​Japan.

These exercises "showed that we are capable and ready to neutralize the origin of the provocation while maintaining a constant monitoring position", he added in a press release.

The South Korean military, however, confirmed the failed launch of a fifth Hyunmoo-2 short-range ballistic missile, which crashed to the ground shortly after launch.

The missile warhead did not explode and no one was injured, according to the staff.

But a major fire broke out and caused panic in the town of Gangneung on South Korea's east coast, with many worried residents calling the town hall, authorities said.

On Tuesday, South Korean and American fighter jets had already conducted precision strike exercises, according to Seoul, with the dropping of bombs on a virtual target in the Yellow Sea by two South Korean F-15K fighter jets.

The spokesman for the American National Security Council John Kirby, interviewed by CNN, indicated that it was a question of “responding to provocations from the North, to ensure that we can demonstrate our own capacities”.

"It doesn't have to come to that.

We have made it clear to Kim Jong-un that we are ready to sit down at the table without preconditions,” he added.

Return of the American nuclear aircraft carrier

The South Korean army also announced on Wednesday the return to the region of the American nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, which carried out exercises with the South Korean navy in September.

North Korea, which adopted a new doctrine in September making its nuclear power status "irreversible", stepped up its firing this year and launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) for the first time since 2017. Tuesday's firing was the fifth in ten days.

Pyongyang did not comment on the matter in official media.

The United Nations Security Council is due to meet on Wednesday on this issue.

According to Seoul and Tokyo, the missile traveled about 4,600 km, probably the longest distance Pyongyang has ever reached in its tests.

Missiles are usually fired in a lofted trajectory to avoid flying over neighboring countries.

According to experts and senior officials, the missile is a nuclear-capable Hwasong-12 IRBM.

It was first tested in 2017 and is able to reach US bases on the island of Guam.


North Korean missile: Washington and Seoul conducted "a precision strike exercise"


North Korea fires ballistic missile over Japan for first time since 2017

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