US plans first test of ICBM intercept, with North Korea on mind

Contacts between North and South Korea are extremely limited and their tense shared border is one of the few places it is possible to see people from both sides but Seoul has now authorised an NGO to make contact to discuss humanitarian aid

North Korea South Korea approves civilian contact with neighbours

The North recently tested the Hwasong-12, a new medium, long-range ballistic missile, which some observers believe could be the technological predecessor to an eventual North Korean ICBM.

"If left on its current trajectory the regime will ultimately succeed in fielding a nuclear-armed missile capable of threatening the United States homeland", Stewart told the Senate Intelligence Committee.

North Korea's ballistic missile program is progressing faster than expected, and the Department of Defense is investing in improved missile defense systems, including a first ICBM intercept test, according to Matt Lee from the Associated Press. The Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency, which is responsible for developing and testing the system, has scheduled the intercept test for Tuesday. A USA "interceptor" then will be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, .

Missile Defense Agency spokesman Christopher Johnson explained that the target will be custom made to resemble an ICBM, meaning it will travel at a quicker pace than test missiles used in the past.

"We conduct increasingly complex test scenarios as the program matures and advances", Johnson said. "Testing against an ICBM-type threat is the next step in that process".

The test was announced three days after the director of the US Defense Intelligence Agency told Congress that North Korea is on an "inevitable" path toward a nuclear ICBM that could reach the US.

Kushner Had Multiple Undisclosed Conversations With Kislyak, Discussed "Back Channel" Comms
Mr Kushner, who is married to the president's daughter, Ivanka, has said he will co-operate with any investigation. Kushner has offered to talk to Congress about these meetings, according to his lawyer Jamie Gorelick .

While North Korea now lacks the capability to hit the U.S. mainland, a senior military intelligence official warned that such a development is only a matter of time.

If the test goes as planned, the interceptor will destroy the target warhead high above the Pacific Ocean, AP reported.

Group officials said they last sent anti-malaria supplies to North Korea in 2011. And they need to test even much more than we do.

The interceptor system has been in place since 2004, but it has never been used in combat or fully tested.

The U.S. already has 36 interceptors, with four at Vandenberg Air Force Base along the California coast in Santa Barbara County and the rest at Alaska's Fort Greely. The Pentagon says it will have eight more, for a total of 44, by the end of the 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 U.S. has installed in South Korea as defence against medium-range North Korean missiles.

The Pentagon is also in the midst of a review of the United States' ballistic missile defense posture.

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