Pentagon declares success for key test of missile defense

United States anti-ICBM system in first successful live-fire test

The test was the first live-fire test against an ICBM-class target by the combination of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) interceptor and the U.S. ballistic missile defense system, according to the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.

The conducting a missile defense test today after North Korea fired off yet another threatening missile Monday.

At a time when tensions with North Korea are running high, a successful test was vital for the Defense Department's beleaguered missile defense program.

North Korea intends to keep improving its missiles until it can launch a nuclear warhead capable of reaching USA soil.

"This system is vitally important to the defence of our homeland, and this test demonstrates that we have a capable, credible deterrent against a very real threat", Vice Admiral Jim Syring, director of the agency, said in a statement.

A new version of the military's long-range ground-based interceptor missile will be tested, the reports said. The interceptor's target would be an intercontinental-range missile fired from a test range on Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific.

Despite global pressure to back off missile testing, and threats of more sanctions if they don't comply, North Korea has launched about a missile per week for the past three weeks, and Kim has promised that there are more to come.

North Korea has dramatically ramped up the pace of its missile tests over the past year, with a goal of developing an ICBM that can strike the U.S. mainland.

Beijing has significant influence over North Korea, 90 percent of whose trade is with China.

"We have been told repeatedly since the 1950s that a successful missile defense is just around the corner", Professor of neuroscience and political commentator John Walsh told Sputnik.

Making frequent appearances in those photos with Mr Kim are the same three men said to be the top officials in the secretive country's rapidly accelerating missile programme.

The United States and China could reach a decision this week on new sanctions against North Korea over its recent missile tests. It has not been successfully tested by North Korea, so it's hard to assess its full range. The tests had initially simulated medium-range ballistic missiles with a shorter range than an ICBM.

But China's United Nations ambassador, Liu Jieyi, made clear last week that Beijing's top priority is to restart talks with North Korea following its multiple tests to try to reduce tensions rather than impose new sanctions.

According to Reuters, Kim said that North Korea would begin building more powerful weapons capable of striking the United States, in order to deter us aggression against the North. President Trump has vowed to prevent that from happening and has leaned on China, North Korea's closest ally, to use political and economic leverage to persuade Kim to halt his weapons program.

The new missile and launch system were first displayed at a military parade in Pyongyang in April, KCNA said.

North Korea reportedly launched a short-range "Scud-type" missile Monday, the country's third missile test in about as many weeks.

By the time the 2014 test rolled around, MDA officials were seriously questioning what needed to be done to fix the system - one option was to abandon the upgraded version of the GBI struggling in tests and move on down a more aggressive path to redesign the kill vehicle.

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