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In another drill held after the ICBM test, US and South Korean troops fired ballistic missiles simulating an attack on the North's leadership "as a strong message of warning", the South's military said at the time.

The U.S. Air Force said the flight was in response to "a series of increasingly escalatory actions by North Korea", including the launch of a ballistic missileearly Tuesday.

The pair of B-1B Lancer strategic bombers flew from a U.S. base on Guam and were joined by USA and South Korean jet fighters for the operation, reports The Sun.

Four US and South Korean jet fighters joined the live fire drill, which was conducted at a range in Yeongwol County, some 80 kilometres (50 miles) south of the inter-Korean border, the South's air force said.

North Korea's launch of the ICBM marked a major step forward in its pursuit of a nuclear-tipped missile that could strike as far as the USA mainland.

Russian President Vladimir Putin Friday underlined the importance of staying calm in the North Korea crisis, saying nuclear-armed Pyongyang should be dealt with in a "pragmatic" manner.

Earlier this week, North Korea was a key topic in phone calls between US President Donald Trump and the leaders of China and Japan.

Diplomats say China has not been fully enforcing United Nations sanctions on North Korea and has resisted tougher measures such as an oil embargo, bans on North Korean guest workers, and sanctions on Chinese banks and companies doing business with the country.

It was established by the provisions of the Korean Armistice Agreement to serve as a buffer zone between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) and the Republic of Korea (South Korea).

Lieutenant General Thomas Bergeson, US Forces Korea deputy commander, said the mission demonstrated the allies remain "prepared to use the full range of capabilities to defend and to preserve the security of the Korean peninsula and region".

"The North Korea nuclear problem is very serious".

Putin reaffirmed Russia's "firm decision" never to allow North Korean nukes, and expressed his support for Seoul's efforts to bring North Korea back to the table, it added.

In the wake of the launch, South Korea's defense minister said he sees a high possibility of North Korea conducting a sixth nuclear test.

North Korea has hailed the ICBM test as marking the completion of is strategic weapons capability that it says includes atomic and hydrogen bombs. And if it fired at a normal trajectory it could put Alaska in its range.


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