US holds military drills with Japan, SoKor after missile launch

WASHINGTON – The US conducted separate military exercises with Japan and South Korea in response to North Korea's long-range ballistic missile launch, the Department of Defense said Tuesday.

"The United States condemns these actions and calls on the DPRK to refrain from further unlawful and destabilizing acts," said Patrick Ryder, a Pentagon spokesperson, referring to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, North Korea’s official name.

The US Marine Corps fighters joined Japan Air Self-Defense Force fighter aircraft and held a bilateral exercise over the Sea of Japan on Tuesday in Japanese time, he said.

Ryder said the US Indo-Pacific Command and South Korean personnel also conducted a bilateral exercise over the West Sea on Tuesday.

"These engagements were taken to showcase combined deterrent and dynamic strike capabilities, while demonstrating the interoperability our nations share," he said.

Ryder also said Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin spoke with his Japanese and Korean counterparts about the threats posed by North Korea and reaffirmed the US’s commitment to the defense of Japan and South Korea.

Pyongyang’s fifth missile launch in just over a week has drawn widespread international condemnation.

The latest launch, the first in five years to fly over Japan, prompted the Japanese government to issue warnings for residents to take shelter. (Anadolu)