Washington, May 31: Amid high tension between the United States and North Korea, Pentagon successfully test-fires maiden intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Tuesday. Notably, United States has for the first time successfully tested intercontinental ballistic missile using its own upgraded long-range interceptor missile to counter North Korean missile launch.
US 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. The Pentagon said the test was long-planned but it comes amid increased tensions with North Korea.
While the Pentagon is calling this test a success, some experts cautioned that the $40 billion missile defense system still has a long way to go before it can be considered fully developed. However, the test comes after North Korea fired its ninth missile this year.
"The intercept of a complex, threat-representative ICBM target is an incredible accomplishment ... and a critical milestone for this program," said MDA Director Vice Adm. Jim Syring. "This system is vitally important to the defense of our homeland, and this test demonstrates that we have a capable, credible deterrent against a very real threat," Jim Syring added.
Earlier this month, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of United States has formed a special unit with and aim to aggressively tackle North Korea’s nuclear weapons threat. Interestingly, this move came just after North Korea poised to undertake its sixth nuclear test.
Notably, tensions have risen sharply in recent months after North Korea conducted two nuclear weapons tests last year and carried out a steady stream of ballistic missile tests. President Trump, who took office in January, has vowed to prevent North Korea from being able to hit the United States with a nuclear missile.
Seeing North Korea continuously examining nuclear weapons, United States sent their warships in the Korean peninsula which also raised tension between both countries rhetorically. Notably, North Korea regularly threatens to destroy Japan, South Korea and the United States.