The United States military and South Korean forces conducted joint missile drills over the West Sea on Tuesday, according to the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command — exercises that quickly followed North Korea launching a missile over Japan.
According to the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command release, the bilateral exercise aimed to "showcase combined deterrent and dynamic strike capabilities." It also included the dropping of Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) precision bombs on the uninhabited island of Jikdo off the western coast of South Korea.
After the exercise, South Korea's Joint Chiefs offered a separate statement, saying four U.S. Air Force F-16s and four South Korean F-15K fighter jets were included in the drills, with an F-15K releasing two JDAMs.
"The U.S. remains committed to peace and prosperity through the region in order to secure a free and open Indo-Pacific," the Indopacom statement said. "Our commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea and Japan remains ironclad."
The bilateral exercise encountered one problem: A South Korean ballistic missile reportedly malfunctioned as it landed, causing an explosion along South Korea's eastern coast.
However, according to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff, no injuries were reported and no facilities were damaged from the explosion/fire, which occurred when a "Hyumoo-2 missile crashed inside an air force base on the edges of the city," according to the Associated Press.
Also, according to Reuters, via the New York Post, the Pentagon recently repositioned the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier to east of North Korea.
On Monday, North Korea tested an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean.
The missile launch didn't lead to any casualties, although out of precaution, Japanese authorities issued evacuation warnings to residents of Hokkaido and Aomori.
U.S. and Japanese officials have condemned North Korea's launch, which came shortly after Vice President Harris traveled to Asia for former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's funeral.
For the Asia trip, Harris also met with South Korean leaders.
Harris' primary reason for the visit was Abe's funeral. And yet, the reaction was similar to China's provocative response, when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., visited Taiwan in August — becoming the highest-ranking American official to set foot on Taiwan soil in 20-plus years.
Pelosi's trip possibly exacerbated the differences among China, Taiwan, and the Western superpowers that have pledged support to Taiwan over the past 50-plus years.
As Newsmax chronicled, China responded to Pelosi's visit by issuing import bans, summoning the U.S. ambassador to China, threatening cyber attacks, flying drones over the area, and conducting military exercises over Taiwan during that time.
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