The weapons stare down between North Korea and United States seems to reach new heights as the Pentagon successfully shot down an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) using its own upgraded long-range interceptor earlier on Tuesday. The test was widely received as determining US abilities to offset North Korean missile technology.
According to the US defense official, the Missile Defense Agency launched a ground-based interceptor from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to intercept a US-launched mock ICBM target over the Pacific Ocean.
Director of the Missile Defense Agency, Vice Adm. Jim Syring stated that the defense system is an imperative aspect to the defense of our homeland and the test displays that the country has a capable, reliable deterrent against a grave threat. He added that the the designers of the ICBM worked with the intelligence community for imitating a realistic Iranian or North Korean threat they might have to face between now and 2020. According to Syring, the test was worth about $244 million and the next test will take place in August/September 2018 and will involve multiple interceptors attempting to takeout a single test at ICBM.
However, contrary to Pentagon’s stance, some experts have warned that that the $40 billion missile defense system still has yet to gain definitive ground before it can be deemed as fully developed.
Senior fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Philip E. Coyle stated that the two consecutive successes in a row, which is critical but denotes 40% success rate since early 2010 as only two attempts have been successful out of five.
The test was a robust response just two days after Pyongyang fired a short-range ballistic missile, which covered a distance of 248 miles and finally splashed down within exclusive economic zone of Japan. Earlier, US President Donald Trump tweeted that North Korea had displayed signs of great disrespect for China by shooting off another ballistic missile joining leaders of South Korea and Japan who condemned the tests.
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