(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with USFK's statement, other details; ADDS photos)
By Lee Chi-dong
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 South's Hyunmoo-2A and the U.S. Eighth Army's ATACMS, into the East Sea, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The Hyunmoo-2A is a ballistic missile with a range of 300 kilometers, and the ATACMS, or the Army Tactical Missile System, is a surface-to-surface missile.
The live-fire training was held on the orders of President Moon Jae-in who cited the need for demonstrating the allies' missile defense posture with action, not just a statement, said Moon's office Cheong Wa Dae.
Moon delivered the proposal to U.S. President Donald Trump through their national security advisers, it added.
The U.S. troops said they mobilized the assets to counter "North Korea's destabilizing and unlawful actions" a day earlier, referencing its firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
"The deep strike precision capability enables the (South Korea)-U.S. Alliance to engage the full array of time critical targets under all weather conditions," the Eighth Army said.
Meanwhile, the North's state media gave a detailed account of the reclusive nation's latest missile test.
The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the North has mastered the atmospheric re-entry technology and other skills for an ICBM via the test inspected by leader Kim Jong-un.
It added the country's ICBM is capable of carrying a large-sized warhead. In particular, the temperature of the warhead stayed within the range of 25-45 degrees Celsius at the time of the re-entry, with all other core devices normally operating before the missile struck a mock target accurately, it argued.
The North also verified "all technological characteristics" necessary to fire an ICBM from a mobile launcher, it said.
The KCNA described the ICBM as an Independence Day "gift" for Americans.
The South's military stressed that the allies are all set to retaliate in the case of a North Korean missile attack.
It warned that the leadership of the North Korean regime will face "destruction" if it threatens the security of the allies' people with its nuclear weapons and missiles.
In Washington, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson strongly condemned the North's ICBM launch.
"Testing an ICBM represents a new escalation of the threat to the United States, our allies and partners, the region and the world," he said in a statement.
He said the U.S. would take tougher measures to hold Pyongyang accountable and reaffirmed that it will never accept the North as a nuclear power.
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