US test-fires interceptor at intercontinental ballistic missile

The U.S. military is conducting a flight test today to exercise the ground-based mid-course defense element of the nation's ballistic missile defense system, according to a Pentagon spokesman.

North Korea's nuclear ambitions have injected a new sense of urgency to building an effective defense against the country and actions of its unpredictable leader, Kim Jong Un, who is trying to develop a long-range missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and reaching the USA mainland.

North Korean news agency KCNA said the latest missile "correctly hit a planned target point with deviation of seven metres".

The American test comes just two days after North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile that traveled an estimated 280 miles, splashing down somewhere within Japanese territorial waters.

Concern among the worldwide community over the North's weapons programme was further raised after North Korea test-fired yet another ballistic missile, the latest in a series of launches that have ratcheted up tensions over Pyongyang's quest to develop weapons capable of hitting the United States.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe swiftly condemned the test - the second time this year that a North Korean missile has fallen close to its shores - vowing concerted action with the US.

Experts said Japan and the USA could work together on cyber and missile action against North Korea, which could include shooting down North Korea's future test missiles.

North Korea, however, already has a strong arsenal of reliable short-range missiles.

Viewed as a key move in the escalating tensions between the USA and North Korea, the target of Tuesday's test are the type of missiles Pyongyang are seeking to develop.

Bennett said that instability could be attributed to the government of Kim Jong Un not being able to boost its economy, not gaining the recognition it wants from China, or because its senior leaders fear they could be killed like others during Kim's time in power. This particular test was last conducted in June 2014, and it was a success.

January 20: Donald Trump inaugurated as USA president.

It says the programme is necessary to counter United States aggression.

National security adviser Shotaro Yachi made the call at a meeting near Tokyo with China's top diplomat, State Councillor Yang Jiechi, yesterday, the same day that North Korea conducted the latest in a quick succession of missile tests.

Trump, who has sought more help from China to rein in its neighbor and ally, said on Twitter that "North Korea has shown great disrespect for their neighbor, China, by shooting off yet another ballistic missile.but China is trying hard!"

U.S. military officials confirmed two B-1s flew over South Korea on Monday.

"The G-7 summit is a place where those nuclear- and missile-haves put their heads together to discuss how to pressure weak countries and those incurring their displeasure", the news agency said. Tuesday's launch was different.

  • Larry Hoffman