US, South Korea talk military options following North Korea missile test

US, South Korea talk military options following North Korea missile test
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Two top U.S. military officers have reached out to South Korea to discuss military options following North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test Friday, its second this month.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford and U.S. Pacific Command head Adm. Harry Harris called South Korea Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Lee Sun-jin, according to Joint Chiefs spokesman Greg Hicks. 

The two called from Dunford’s Pentagon office.

“During the call, Dunford and Harris expressed the ironclad commitment to the U.S.-Republic of Korea alliance,” Hicks said. “The three leaders also discussed military response options.”

The United States detected the launch of a ballistic missile from North Korea, fired shortly before midnight in Japan on Friday, according to Pentagon.

The missile traveled about 1,000 km before splashing down in the Sea of Japan, possibly within an area known as Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command determined the missile did not pose a threat to North America, but experts say the range and length of the missile’s flight indicates North Korea has the capability to hit the continent.

Lawmakers were quick to call for policies and dollars to bolster U.S. defenses following the launch.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) said the test “amplifies the danger to the U.S. homeland and accelerates the need for us to take steps to protect our people and our allies.”

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerDeficit hawks voice worry over direction of tax plan The Hill Interview: Budget Chair Black sticks around for now Overnight Finance: White House requests B for disaster relief | Ex-Equifax chief grilled over stock sales | House panel approves B for border wall | Tax plan puts swing-state Republicans in tough spot MORE (R-Tenn.) said in a statement that the country “must pursue a comprehensive approach that includes rigorous enforcement of sanctions, strengthening regional alliances, and expanded deployment of missile defense systems to confront this serious threat.”

The Senate this week sent legislation to President Trump that will put new sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea. Trump has yet to sign the sanctions into law. 

Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Edward MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyDems lambaste Trump’s ‘outrageous’ EPA chemical safety pick Dems plan to make gun control an issue in Nevada Dem senator pitches ideas for gun control after shooting MORE (D-Mass.), meanwhile, called for direct negotiations with North Korea coupled with increased economic sanctions. 

“North Korea’s reckless and provocative escalation represents a grave threat to the United States and our allies, and to the peace and stability of the region and the world,” Markey said. 

Before this week, Pyongyang last launched an ICBM on July 4.