US plans first test of ICBM intercept, with NKorea on mind

Thornton went on to state that the US, China, and other parties are now engaged in talks on a future United Nations resolution on North Korea in order to decrease the time that would be needed to take action if Pyongyang conducts another nuclear or missile test.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in is keen on boosting economic cooperation with North Korea, a senior official at the presidential policy advisory committee said Friday, heralding a sharp increase in joint inter-Korean economic projects. He has yet to test an intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, but Pentagon officials believe he is speeding in that direction. Critics say it also is the least reliable.

The Missile Defense Agency said an interceptor based out of Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, one of 36 in California and Alaska, will be used in the test to shoot down a target similar to an ICBM over the Pacific Ocean. "We conduct increasingly complex test scenarios as the program matures and advances", Johnson said Friday. The last one, in June 2014, was the first success since 2008.

The exercise will check the performance of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system, which has had a checkered record in previous tests.

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"What we're doing in terms of our defense cooperation with South Korea is in no way comparable to the blatant disregard that North Korea has shown with respect to global law and worldwide concerns repeatedly about its nuclear weapons program", acting State Department Spokesman Mark Toner said in March.

They repeatedly declined to offer an estimate, saying that doing so would reveal USA knowledge about North Korea's capabilities, but Stewart warned the panel the risk was growing.

The U.S. has been talking to Beijing about taking action against specific firms and is waiting to see what sort of action China will take, she said.

Although the U.S. did commit atrocities against North Koreans during the Korean war, that doesn't grant them the legitimacy to develop nuclear weapons, said Sun. The UN has resolutions against North Korea - the only country to test nuclear devices in the 21st century - while military exercises take place all over the world without incident, for the most part. There are now 32 interceptor missiles in Fort Greely, Alaska and four at Vandenberg. The Pentagon says it will have eight more, for a total of 44, by the end of this year. Other elements of that effort include the Patriot created to shoot down short-range ballistic missiles and the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, which the USA has installed in South Korea as defense against medium-range North Korean missiles. This is different than the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system located in South Korea which would intercept the kill vehicle at a lower altitude in the missile's terminal stage.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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