The South Korean and USA militaries are in the midst of the annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian drills involving computer simulations of a war to test readiness and run until August 31. It was then that the Washington Post reported that us intelligence had concluded that North Korea had successfully miniaturized a nuclear warhead, rendering it suitable to sit atop an intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM.
Pacific Command said it had detected three short-range ballistic missiles, fired over a 20 minute period.
Both the US and South Korea are both engaged in war games to counter any potential threat from Pyongyang which sees such moves as provocative and hostile, perhaps even preparation for an invasion.
In the aftermath of Saturday's test, Tillerson noted that the United States would not abandon its pursuit of a diplomatic solution.
All three were successfully launched and, in classic North Korean style, traveled about 250 kilometers before landing safely in the ocean.
But this latest test did not threaten the USA or Guam, the US military said. Japan has previously deployed missile interceptors after North Korea threatened to fire projectiles over Japan toward the USA territory of Guam.
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Despite North Korea's "provocative" firing of three missiles, the U.S. will continue to push for negotiations to de-escalate nuclear tensions on the Korean peninsula, secretary of state Rex Tillerson said on Sunday.
The UK's membership of NATO does not automatically oblige it to participate in a conflict between the U.S. and North Korea, even if the latter attacks military bases in the Pacific. North Korea purports these military exercises as a rehearsal for an invasion, reports said. Today, as President Donald Trump threatens new trade barriers against China, on which the United States must depend to help rein in an increasingly unsafe North Korea, these two issues have become closely connected. 8 news conference threatened "fire and fury" at the isolated kingdom if it continues to test ballistic missiles.
"The military is keeping a tight surveillance over the North to cope with further provocations", South Korean officials said.
The launch comes weeks after North Korea created a tense standoff with the United States by threatening to lob some of its missiles toward Guam.
Tillerson had said he hoped that the lack of missile launches or other "provocative acts" by Pyongyang could mean a path could be opening for dialogue "sometime in the near future". And, while we escaped the specter of nuclear war, the American people should have even more reason for concern, albeit not exclusively about North Korea.