Following North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch on Tuesday, the United States and South Korea held a new ballistic missile drill to counter “North Korea’s destabilizing and unlawful actions.”

“(The drills) showcased precision targeting of the enemy’s leadership in case of an emergency,” a South Korean Defense Ministry statement said.

 

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un monitors the nuclear launch on Tuesday. Photo by Associated Press

 

North Korea State news agency KCNA reported that leader Kim Jong-un said the test was a “gift” to the Americans on their independence day. They also warned of the possibility of more tests, saying he ordered officials to “frequently send big and small ‘gift packages’ to the Yankees.”

Moreover, some experts believe that North Korea’s test on Tuesday proves that it has a missile that could travel across the globe and reach Alaska.

Physicist David Wright said it could reach a maximum range of about 6,700km on a standard trajectory, while South Korea’s defence ministry on Wednesday put the range between 7,000 and 8,000km.

Meanwhile China, Pyongyang’s main economic ally, and Russia asked North Korea to suspend its ballistic missile programme in exchange for the United States and South Korea’s halt on their large-scale military exercises.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin met in Moscow on Tuesday and said “the opposing sides should start negotiations.”

In addition, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday that the two countries opposed any attempts to resolve the crisis by force.

“The task of the denuclearisation of the entire Korean peninsula cannot and should not be used as a disguise for attempts to change North Korea’s regime. This is our common position,” he said.