US hits in­com­ing test tar­get as N Korea ten­sion rises

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

WASHINGTON: The US said it shot down a sim­u­lated, in­com­ing in­ter­me­di­ate-range bal­lis­tic mis­sile (IRBM) sim­i­lar to the ones be­ing de­vel­oped by coun­tries like North Korea, in a new test of the na­tion’s Thaad mis­sile de­fences.

Planned months ago, the US mis­sile de­fence test over the Pa­cific Ocean has gained sig­nif­i­cance af­ter North Korea’s July 4 launch of an in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile (ICBM) height­ened con­cerns about the threat from Py­ongyang.

The test was the first of the Ter­mi­nal High Al­ti­tude Area De­fence (Thaad) sys­tem against an in­com­ing IRBM, which ex­perts say is a faster and more dif­fi­cult tar­get to hit than shorter-range mis­siles.

The US Mis­sile De­fence Agency said the IRBM was de­signed to be­have sim­i­larly to the kinds of mis­siles that could threaten the US. “The suc­cess­ful demon­stra­tion of Thaad against an IRBM-range mis­sile threat bol­sters the coun­try’s de­fen­sive ca­pa­bil­ity against de­vel­op­ing mis­sile threats in North Korea and other coun­tries,” the Mis­sile De­fence Agency said in a state­ment.

PIC­TURE: AP

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, sec­ond from right, in­spects the prepa­ra­tion of the launch of a Hwa­song-14 in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile in North Korea’s north-west on July 4.

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