South Korean destroyer Yulgok Yi I before leaving the Jinhae port in South Korea on 4 May 2012. EFE-EPA FILE/Yonhap HANDOUT/SOUTH KOREA OUT/EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

Seoul, Tokyo, Washington hold joint missile defense drills in response to Pyongyang launch

Seoul, Jul 16 (EFE).- The South Korean, Japanese and United States’ militaries on Sunday carried out a missile defense exercise in the Sea of Japan – called the East Sea in the Koreas – in response to North Korea recently launching an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), driven by solid fuel.

A handout photo made available by South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff of a B-52H strategic bomber and F-16 jets of the United States flying in formation with South Korea’s F-15K fighters over the Korean Peninsula, 13 July 2023. EFE-EPA/SOUTH KOREA’S JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF HANDOUT SOUTH KOREA OUT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

Three destroyers, South Korea’s ROKS Yulgok Yi I, Japan’s JS Maya and the USS John Finn, took place in the drills, the South Korean navy said in a statement.

The exercise simulated a ballistic missile launch by North Korea, which was used to practice response procedures: detection, tracking and information sharing, the statement said.

“Based on our military’s powerful response system and trilateral coordination, (we) will effectively respond to North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats,” a South Korean navy official told local news agency Yonhap.

The last time the three allies had carried out such an exercise was in April, a few days after Pyongyang test-launched Hwasong-18, its most sophisticated ICBM, for the first time.

On Wednesday, North Korea carried out its second launch of the missile into the Sea of Japan, triggering unanimous condemnation by Seoul, Tokyo and Washington.

On Friday, the South Korean and US air forces had carried out joint drills that included Pentagon’s B-52 bombers.

After the failure of the 2019 denuclearization talks, tensions in the Korean peninsula have risen again, as North Korea has rejected all offers of dialog and has been carrying out a record number of missile tests.

Seoul and Washington have responded by holding massive joint exercises and repeatedly deploying strategic US assets in the region. EFE