The United States Defense Department says it has successfully tested a defense system against an intercontinental ballistic missile.
The test involved two separate missile launches.
The military launched an intercontinental ballistic missile or ICBM from the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean. It also launched a missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to intercept the ICBM.
Defense officials say the test was a success. They said the second missile struck and destroyed the ICBM over the Pacific Ocean.
“The intercept of a complex threat-representative ICBM target is an incredible accomplishment,” said Vice Admiral Jim Syring, director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.
Cedric Leighton is a crisis management expert and a former U.S. Air Force intelligence officer. He told VOA that the test both sends a message and shows technological gains.
“From a diplomatic standpoint, it’s a tremendous message, and from a technical standpoint it shows that there are possibilities of actually mounting a type of defense that will knock at least some inter-continental ballistic missiles out of the sky before they reach their intended targets.”
He added that, historically, the tests have been about 50 to 55 percent effective.
The system tested Wednesday was designed to stop ICBM’s at great distances long before they reach the U.S.
The U.S. test took place after North Korea tested a short-range missile on Monday. North Korea said the test was a success.
The test angered Japan which said the missile landed in its exclusive economic zone.
U.S. President Donald Trump posted on Twitter about the North Korean action.
“North Korea has shown great disrespect for their neighbor, China, by shooting off yet another ballistic missile,” he tweeted.
However, China has called for North Korea to return to talks over its disputed nuclear weapons and missile programs.
The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said the U.S. will continue to pressure China on the issue of North Korea.
Haley said the Trump administration believes that China is using back-channel communications with North Korea to persuade it to stop nuclear weapons testing.
She said that China and the U.S. are considering increasing restrictions against the country.
I’m Mario Ritter.
Chris Hannas and Kenneth Schwartz reported this story for VOA News. Mario Ritter adapted it for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.
Margaret Besheer reported this story for VOA News. Mario Ritter adapted it for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.
Words in This Story
intercontinental ballistic missile –n. a large missile able to travel many thousands of kilometers to deliver a warhead
intercept –v. to prevent something from reaching the place it is intended to go
tremendous –adj. very great
type –n. kind, sort
intended –adj. something that is the purpose or goal
short-range –adj. over a relatively short distance
exclusive –adj. available only to one country or one person
back-channel –adj. secret, unofficial, or informal