The US military has shot down a medium-range ballistic missile in a new test off the coast of Hawaii following a warning by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that his country will conduct more missile tests in the Pacific Ocean.
The test was performed on Wednesday by the US Navy and the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) from the USS John Paul Jones, a guided-missile destroyer, just one day after North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan.
In a statement, MDA Director Lieutenant General Sam Greaves claimed the test marked a "key milestone," and asserted the US “will continue developing ballistic missile defense technologies to stay ahead of the threat as it evolves,” hinting of more tests to come.
“We are working closely with the fleet to develop this important new capability, and this was a key milestone in giving our Aegis BMD ships an enhanced capability to defeat ballistic missiles in their terminal phase,” the statement read.
The warship detected and tracked a target missile launched from Kauai, Hawaii, "with its on board AN/SPY-1 radar, and on board SM-6 missiles executed the intercept," the statement added.
North Korea on Tuesday fired a Hwasong-12 missile — reportedly capable of carrying a nuclear payload — that traveled nearly 2,700 kilometers into the Pacific and triggered alert warnings as it flew over northern Japan.
South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff also said the missile reached a maximum height of 349 kilometers as it flew over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.
The launch sparked angry reactions from Japan and the United States, as well as calls for restraint by other countries.
The United Nations Security Council condemned the launch, saying it deliberately undermined peace and stability in the region.
US President Donald Trump said Tuesday “all options” are on the table regarding North Korea, ratcheting up his war of words against the Asian nation.
Pyongyang has tested a barrage of missiles over the past years, but it is the first time it launches what is believed to be a ballistic missile over Japan.