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(LEAD) S. Korea, U.S. hold joint missile drills against N. Korea

All Headlines 07:46 July 05, 2017

(ATTN: UPDATES with additional information in paras 5-7)

SEOUL, July 5 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and the United States staged a massive combined ballistic missile exercise Wednesday aimed at sending a warning message to North Korea, the South's military said a day after the communist country claimed a successful long-range missile test.

The allies fired a barrage of missiles, including the Hyunmoo-2 and the ATACMS, into the East Sea, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

It came in response to the North's assertion that it has mastered the atmospheric re-entry technology for intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM).

The Korean Central News Agency also said the country's ICBM is capable of carrying a large-sized warhead.

Wednesday's joint military drill came as a clear warning to North Korea and at the direct order of President Moon Jae-in, Seoul's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said.

"President Moon said North Korea's serious provocation required us to react with more than just a statement and that we need to clearly show our missile defense readiness to North Korea," it said in a released statement.

U.S. President Donald Trump too approved the joint missile defense drill when told by his security adviser H.R. McMaster, saying he highly praised President Moon's firm reaction to the North Korean provocation.

lcd@yna.co.kr
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