North Korea continues to provoke the U.S., watch for Chinese intervention soon.

North Korea has successfully launched an intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time, the United States confirmed Tuesday as it warned of an escalating threat from Pyongyang.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un called the missile “a gift” to “American bastards” on the U.S. Independence Day holiday, the Korean Central News Agency reported.

State media also announced that the ICBM is capable of carrying a “large, heavy nuclear warhead” that can survive re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.

China and Russia called for a moratorium on further missile and nuclear tests by Pyongyang after a meeting between Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping in Moscow. A joint Russian-Chinese statement also called for a simultaneous suspension of large-scale U.S.-South Korea military exercises, “The opposing sides should start negotiations and affirm general principles of their relations including the non-use of force, rejection of aggression and peaceful coexistence.”

However that suggestion was ignored by Washington and Seoul, who instead fired ballistic missiles simultaneously in a drill on Wednesday which simulated an attack on the North’s leadership. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said these drills serve, “as a strong message of warning.”

The live-fire training was held at the order of President Moon Jae-In, who supports engagement with Pyongyang to bring it to the negotiating table. President Moon said, “North Korea’s serious provocation required us to react with more than just a statement and that we need to clearly show our missile defense readiness to North Korea.”

The missiles deployed in the drill feature “deep strike precision capability,” enabling the United States and South Korea “to engage the full array of time critical targets under all weather conditions,” the U.S. military said.

On the diplomatic front, the United States, Japan and South Korea requested a U.N. Security Council emergency session, scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

The international turmoil appeared to have emboldened North Korea, which issued a statement via state media on Wednesday in which Kim Jong Un urged his scientists to “frequently send big and small ‘gift packages’ to the Yankees.”

A successful launch of an ICBM has long been seen as a red line, after which it would only be a matter of time until the rogue regime could increase the distance and thus be capable of striking the U.S. and our allies.

According to Thae Yong Ho, the most high ranking defector, “As long as Kim Jong Un is in power, there’ll be no chance for the world to improve the human rights issue” or cancel “the nuclear program,” he says.

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