In a bid to keep North Korea in check after it repeated missile tests and warnings to the U.S., the Pentagon tested a long-range interceptor missile early this week. The missile was tested over the Pacific Ocean. Officials say that it is part of a military exercise to evaluate the readiness of the U.S. forces to combat any attacks from unfriendly nations.
A 'Milestone' exercise
In the words of Vice Admiral Jim Syring, who is Director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, this test was a 'critical milestone'. The interceptor was launched from an underground location at California's Vandenberg Air Force base and the target missile was fired from the Kwajalein Atoll test site in the Pacific Ocean. The interceptor missile destroyed the target successfully. Director Syring went on to say that the tested system is a vital part of the U.S. defense strategy. He pointed out that the testing and its success sent a clear message that the U.S. has an effective defense against threats. This is a statement of considerable significance given that North Korea has repeatedly tested missiles and issued warnings about a military strike that will have the capability to destroy a major portion of the U.S.
North Korea's ICBM
Earlier this week, on Monday, North Korea is believed to have launched a projectile that landed in the Japanese maritime economic area. Once again, the act of aggression has heightened the tension in the area and indicated that North Korea could be a threat to both South Korea and the U.S. North Korea has also issued official statements that it has been working on the ICBM that can reach the West Coast. If this ICBM is also loaded with a war head, it could have the potential to cause considerable damage and this has forced Americans to gear up for a possible attack.
While the possibility of North Korea adding a nuclear warhead to the ICBM cannot be over ruled, the head of America's Strategic Command, General John Hyten, has reassured that the North Koreans do not have a miniaturized war head ready yet. Indicating that the U.S. is running out of patience too is the test, on Tuesday, coming on the heels of the Secretary of State's statement that the policy of strategic patience with the country has come to an end. He categorically stated that military action may also be considered if the circumstances demand it.