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US, South Korea fire missiles after North's ICBM test

شعار Al Jazeera Al Jazeera 05/07/2017
The UN Security Council will hold an emergency session on Wednesday to address North Korea's ICBM test [Handout/United States Army/Reuters] © Provided by Al Jazeera The UN Security Council will hold an emergency session on Wednesday to address North Korea's ICBM test [Handout/United States Army/Reuters]

South Korea and the US have fired a "barrage of missiles" along the eastern coast of the Korean Peninsula, a day after North Korea said it conducted its first successful intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test.

North Korea said it carried out the ICBM tests on Tuesday under the supervision of leader Kim Jong-un, and that it was capable of hitting anywhere in the world.

The Hwasong-14 missile reached an altitude of 2,802km and hit its target precisely after flying for 39 minutes, the North's state television said. 

In response, "deep strike" precision missiles were fired into the South Korean territorial waters on Wednesday to show the North a "firm combined missile response posture", South Korean President Moon Jae-in's office said.

US general Vincent Brooks, the Combined Forces commander in South Korea, said: "Self restraint, which is a choice, is all that separates armistice and war.

"As this alliance missile live fire shows, we are able to change our choice when so ordered by our alliance national leaders."

But the US-South Korean drills will "probably not" have an impact of the North, Robert Kelly, a professor of Pusan National University, told Al Jazeera.

"The North Koreans have said for a long that they want to develop a nuclear weapon and missile and marry the two. They've said for a long time that they want the ability to strike the continental United States," said Kelly.

"[The drills are] probably more of just a show of force, a sort of tit-for-tat ... but will probably not dissuade the North Koreans from continuing to push towards a longer range missile."

READ MORE: Trump warns US 'patience is over' with North Korea

The North Korean leader also vowed to never abandon nuclear weapons and to keep sending Washington more "gift packages" of missile and atomic tests, according to the North's official Korean Central News Agency.

Following Tuesday's test, worry spread in Washington and at the UN, where the US, Japan and South Korea requested a UN Security Council emergency session, to be held later Wednesday.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the US response would include "stronger measures to hold the DPRK accountable", using an acronym for the nation's formal name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The test, North Korea's most successful yet, is a direct rebuke to President Donald Trump's earlier declaration that such a test "won't happen".

Soon after Tuesday's launch, Trump responded on Twitter: "North Korea has just launched another missile. Does this guy have anything better to do with his life? Hard to believe that South Korea and Japan will put up with this much longer. Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all".

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