US Successfully Tests Missile Defense System
By VOA News May 30, 2017
The Pentagon says its first-ever missile defense test involving an ICBM was a success.
"The intercept of a complex threat-representative ICBM target is an incredible accomplishment," Vice Admiral Jim Syring of the Missile Defense Agency said.
Tuesday's test involved two separate missile launches. A simulated attack intercontinental ballistic missile was fired from a tiny island in the Pacific. A second missile was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
The second missile successfully intercepted the first missile over the ocean, destroying it in mid-flight.
Pentagon officials compare it to one bullet shot from a gun striking another bullet.
The system is designed to defend the U.S. against a possible missile launch from a rogue state such as North Korea.
Earlier Tuesday, North Korea declared its latest ballistic missile test a success.
The U.S. Pacific Command said it tracked what appeared to be a short-range ballistic missile for six minutes. It landed in the Sea of Japan in what is known as Japan's exclusive economic zone, angering Tokyo.
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Twitter that "North Korea has shown great disrespect for their neighbor, China, by shooting off yet another ballistic missile." But Trump gave China credit for "trying hard" to rein in North Korea's military ambitions.
China is North Korea's closest ally and the United States has relied in China to do its best to deal with the North.
China has repeatedly said dialogue is the best way to make headway against North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
At the United Nations Tuesday, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said the Trump administration believes China is doing what she calls "backchannel networking" with the North on its nuclear program, and that the U.S. will keep up the pressure on China.
Haley also said the U.S. and China are working on the timing of when to come out with another resolution toughening sanctions on the North.
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has warned that if a diplomatic solution cannot be found, "it would be a catastrophic war if this turns into a combat."
"The North Korean regime has hundreds of artillery cannons and rocket launchers within range of one of the most densely populated cities on earth, which is the capital of South Korea," Mattis told CBS News.
Monday's launch was North Korea's third missile test in three weeks, defying the threat of more sanctions. It came just days after world leaders at the G-7 economic summit demanded Pyongyang give up its nuclear ambitions.
The United States is working to make its missile defense system fully operational in South Korea. But China opposes it, regarding it as a threat.
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