Just days after a flotilla of US and Japanese warships left the sea between Japan and the Korean Peninsula, where they had been deployed in a show of force toward Pyongyang, North Korea tested missiles created to hit such ships.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce issued a statement Wednesday night lamenting reports that South Korean President Moon Jae-in had halted the partially-installed system's progress until his administration can complete an environmental impact assessment.
Thursday's launch is the fourth missile test by the North since Moon took office on May 10 pledging to engage in dialogue with Pyongyang.
In the statement, made in response to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's remarks during his visit to New Zealand, the spokesman criticized the US top diplomat's "trite and unconvincing reasons for tightening sanctions against North Corea". The elements will stay in place, South Korea said.
Two rocket launchers have already been deployed to South Korea as part of the THAAD anti-missile system.
North Korea's regime has claimed that its new rocket could deliver a "large heavy nuclear warhead" all the way to the USA mainland.
The North has carried out two atomic tests and dozens of missile launches since the beginning of previous year in its quest to develop a missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the continental United States - something President Donald Trump has vowed "won't happen".
Nécrologie: Le sculpteur sénégalais Ndary Lo est mort
Né en 1961 à Tivaouane, Ndary Lo s'est lancé dans l'art comme on entre en religion, avec une foi qui déplace les montagnes. Les branches de ses arbres se terminent parfois par des mains, allégorie d'une humanité qui doit puiser dans ses racines.
North Korea launched a salvo of anti-ship cruise missiles from its east coast Thursday, South Korea's military said, adding they flew some 200 kilometers before dropping in the East Sea.
Experts said the new anti-ship missile has four launching canisters. It was the same area in the Sea of Japan that was patrolled by the U.S. Navy aircraft carriers USS Ronald Reagan and USS Carl Vinson.
The latest tests also happened a week after expanded sanctions from the United Nations Security Council against Pyongyang, and a day after the head of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, Vice Admiral James Syring was reported saying the technological advancements under Kim Jong Un was of "great concern" to him, according to a Reuters report.
South Korea's presidency said the latest launch could pose a "direct threat" to its national security.
Compared to the different types of ballistic missiles Pyongyang has recently tested, the missiles launched on Thursday are considered to be more defensive in nature, created to defend against threats such as enemy warships, Reuters points out in a report.
Defying pressure from the worldwide community, North Korea fired four anti-ship missiles last Thursday in what is believed to be a move by the rogue state to demonstrate the precision targeting of its rockets.
The US has staged joint drills with South Korea, as well as Japan, to boost its presence in the region, moves that have angered the North Koreans.
Research from the Korea Institute for National Unification notes that North Korean drones could be used for biological and chemical weapons strikes.
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