US hits incoming test target as N Korea tension rises
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.
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.