(Image: Petty Officer 2nd Class Robin Peak/U.S. Pacific Command)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
KEKAHA, Kauai (HawaiiNewsNow) -
The leader of U.S. military forces in the Pacific hosted South Korea's defense minister in Honolulu on Thursday, reaffirming America's commitment to protecting both countries from the North Korean threat and saying that the U.S. was prepared "to fight tonight" if called upon.
A statement by the U.S. Pacific Command issued Thursday afternoon confirmed the meeting between Admiral Harry Harris and Song Young-moo, the Republic of Korea's Minister of National Defense, at Camp Smith in Halawa.
Discussed, according to the statement, were the "grave threat" posed by the North's ballistic missile and nuclear weapons capabilities, as well as coordination measures between the two countries in response to recent North Korean missile tests.
The U.S. and South Korean militaries conducted live-fire bombing exercises in South Korea on Thursday, an act later called "rash" by North Korea's state-run news agency. A combined ten aircraft took to the skies above eastern Sourth Korea to simular "simulated precision strikes against the North's 'core facilities.'"
"Adm. Harris commended the professionalism of Republic of Korea Air Force personnel involved in yesterday’s training mission that included live-fire weapons drops on the Pilsung Range," read a portion of the statement.
Independently of the joint exercises with South Korea, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency successfully shot down a ballistic missile that was test-fired early Wednesday morning from Kauai.
Officials say the USS John Paul Jones detected and tracked a medium-range ballistic missile that was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility.
This test marks the second time that a SM-6 missile has successfully intercepted a medium-range ballistic missile target, officials said.