US warns North Korea of ​​missile launch

(CNN) — US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken warned that if North Korea continued “on this path” of provocation after firing a ballistic missile over Japan on Tuesday, “it will only increase condemnation, increase isolation and increase steps” being taken in response to their actions.

Blinken made the comments during a news conference in Santiago, Chile, as part of his week-long trip to South America.

North Korea fired a ballistic missile on Tuesday that flew past Japan, prompting Japan to warn its citizens to take shelter. Blinken condemned the latest missile launch, calling it “dangerous and reckless”.

“We strongly condemn the dangerous and reckless launch of a long-range missile by the DPRK that flew over Japan, endangering Japanese citizens,” Blinken said. “I spoke almost immediately with my Japanese and Korean counterparts, and I think they saw that we are working very closely, both bilaterally and trilaterally, the United States, Korea and Japan, to demonstrate and strengthen our defense and deterrence capabilities in the face of the the Korean threat. from the north”.

In response, the United States held joint military exercises with South Korea and Japan separately on Tuesday. Fighter jets from the US Marine Corps joined fighter jets from the South Japan Air Defense Force in a “bilateral exercise over the Sea of ​​Japan on Oct. 4,” Pentagon press secretary Brigadier General Pat Ryder said Tuesday.

South Korea and the United States have held multiple joint exercises in response, first with a precision bombing exercise on Tuesday, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a statement.

A South Korean F-15K fighter jet fired two Joint Direct Attack Bombs (JDAM) at a virtual target at a range west of the Korean Peninsula, the JCS said. A JDAM is a precision-guided air-to-ground weapon that uses GPS to strike high-priority fixed and moving targets, according to the US Air Force.

The United States and South Korea then tested four ATACMS surface-to-surface missiles off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula on Wednesday, according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The ATACMS launch was intended to show that the US and its allies have the “military capabilities to respond to provocations from the North,” John Kirby, the National Security Council’s strategic communications coordinator, told CNN.

“This is not the first time we have done this in response to provocations from the North to make sure we can demonstrate our own capabilities,” Kirby said. “We want denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, he (Kim Jong Un) has shown no inclination to move in that direction, he is frankly moving in the opposite direction by continuing to conduct these missile tests, which are violations of council resolutions.” security”.

Blinken reiterated that the United States has asked North Korea to engage in dialogue instead of continuing with provocative actions such as these missile launches.

“We have asked the DPRK to refrain from further provocations and engage in a sustained and meaningful dialogue.” This is something we have been offering for many months. “Unfortunately, the DPRK’s response has been to launch more missiles, but we are taking appropriate defense and deterrence measures with our allies and partners,” Blinken said.

The North Korean missile launched on Tuesday had a flight distance of about 4,500 km, an altitude of about 970 km and a maximum speed of about Mach 17, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a statement.

North Korea is now the country that has launched the most ballistic missiles in a year since Kim Jong Un took power in 2012, according to South Korea’s Unification Ministry and CNN data. Tuesday’s missile was the 23rd launch this year, involving both ballistic and cruise missiles.

— CNN’s Yongjung Seo, Gawon Ba and Brad Landon contributed to this report

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