The U.S. military has conducted a successful test of its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense over Alaska after threats from North Korea that its intercontinental ballistic missiles are capable of reaching the state.
North Korea threatened the U.S. with nuclear retaliation should North Korean President Kim Jong Un's regime be threatened. While the Pentagon said that North Korea still doesn't possess the technology to successfully fit a nuclear warhead on their ICBMs, their Hwasong-14 missile has the capability to reach Hawaii or Alaska. North Korea threatened Hawaii and Alaska specifically.
According to NBC News, the U.S. military tested the THAAD system Sunday on a medium-range target ballistic missile air-launched by a U.S. Air Force C-17 over the Pacific Ocean. THAAD is designed to launch ground-to-air missiles that seek and destroy enemy ballistic missiles.
The Missile Defense Agency said in a statement, NBC News reported, that "the THAAD weapon system located at Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska in Kodiak, Alaska, detected, tracked and intercepted the target.”
The U.S. has already deployed THAAD systems in South Korea in the event that North Korea decides to launch a missile attack against its southern neighbor. According to CNBC, the move by the U.S. has angered China, who believes the THAAD's powerful radar allows it to see deep inside China and monitor military actions.
As a result, China wants THAAD deployments within South Korea to be stopped. CNBC reported that China called off trilateral talks between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese President Shinzo Abe on Thursday over the THAAD deployment.
In the meantime, North Korea has been utilizing drones to spy on THAAD systems in South Korea. A crashed drone believed to belong to the North Korean military was discovered by a South Korean civilian in a remote forest. The drone contained photographs of a THAAD system 180 miles southeast of Seoul.
The fact that South Korea did not detect the drone and that the drone was discovered by chance, led many South Korean officials to worry over the security of South Korean airspace.