The United States said that its combined military exercises with South Korea and Japan around the Korean Peninsula are defensive in nature and not a threat to the region.
In a press briefing on Thursday, Pentagon spokesperson Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said that U.S. involvement in bilateral or trilateral exercises in the region is not new.
Responding to a question about the recent participation of the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier and its strike group in drills with South Korea and Japan in the East Sea on Thursday, Ryder said such exercises send a clear message that the unity among the allies is resolute.
He strongly condemned the North's latest missile launch on Thursday, calling on Pyongyang to immediately stop violating UN Security Council resolutions against such provocations, escalating military tensions and threatening peace and stability.
U.S. State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel also said that the U.S. has "a number of tools" including sanctions to hold North Korea accountable for its provocative actions. He said the U.S. is closely monitoring the situation and is ready to take additional measures.