Pentagon: Pentagon spokesperson Navy Captain Jeff Davis said the test had been planned for some time and was not timed specifically as a response to North Korea. “In a broad sense, North Korea is one of the reasons why we have this capability,” he said in a statement. Yang said the US test indicates it is preparing for military action as tensions in Northeast Asia increased.
However, North Korea’s test only proves that it has medium-range missiles, not ICBMs, so the US’ missile defence system is targeting nuclear powers like China and Russia, which could launch ICBMs to strike US territory, Yang said.
The US interceptor has an uneven track record, having succeeded nine times out of 17 attempts against missiles in tests since 1999, although the most recent test in June 2014 was a success, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
The US has 26 interceptors based at Fort Greely in Alaska and four at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Last week, the Pentagon presented its 2018 budget to Congress, proposing spending USD 7.9 billion on missile defence, including USD 1.5 billion for the ground-based mid- course defence programme.
“The balance between nuclear armed countries is based on ‘Mutual Assured Destruction’ (MAD), and the development of missile defence systems is for the US to seek absolute security. But it’s actually damaging the balance and it will surely bring about an arms race among nuclear armed countries,” Chu Yin, an associate professor at the University of International Relations said.
“China also has its missile defence system, with technology very similar to the US’, but the system is not as comprehensive as the US system,” Yang noted. China has already exercised about the US deployment of THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defence) interceptor missiles in South Korea to ward off to counter missile threats from North Korea as its radars provide a deep look into Chinese territory, specially its missile activities.
The deployment of THAAD has gravely undermined regional strategic balance and the security interests of China, and runs counter to peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula, Hua said.
“China firmly opposes the deployment of THAAD and strongly urges the US and South Korea side to stop and cancel the act,” she said.