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US, allies plan missile-tracking drills amid tensions on Korean Peninsula

US, allies plan missile-tracking drills amid tensions on Korean Peninsula
© U.S. Missile Defense Agency

The United States, Japan and South Korea are conducting missile tracking drills this week amid growing tensions in the region over North Korea’s weapon development programs. 

The exercises, which will begin Monday, will be the sixth time the three nations have shared missile-tracking information, Reuters reported Sunday.

It is unclear if the drills will involve the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, installed in South Korea, which includes powerful radars. China has expressed concern that the radars could be used to monitor its territory.

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Pyongyang launched a new intercontinental ballistic missile late last month, ending a two-month hiatus for missile launches from the country. The missile landed in the Sea of Japan.

The missile is said to have traveled nearly 2,800 miles high and for a distance of more than 600 miles. North Korea claimed the missile, called a Hwasong-15, is capable of reaching the entire U.S. mainland.

The U.S. and South Korea last week conducted a joint aerial drill involving roughly 12,000 U.S. personnel from the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy, along with 230 aircraft.

North Korea responded to that initiative, saying it is a sign the U.S. is “begging” for war.