USA shoots down ballistic missile in test amid recent North Korean provocations

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The United States conducted a missile-defense test on Wednesday off the coast of Hawaii and intercepted a medium-range ballistic missile, just days after North Korea's bold missile test over Japan.

The missile was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii.

Gen. Sam Greaves said Wednesday's missile launch was a "key milestone". A sailor on the USS John Paul Jones triggered a self-destruct sequence by mistake. Earlier this week, an intermediate-range missile, identified by the North Koreans as a Hwasong-12, was sacked over Japan.

This is the second time a SM-6 missile has intercepted a medium-range ballistic missile target, according to the MDA.

The U.S. military still has numerous missile defense assets - from Patriot interceptors to Terminal High Altitude Area Defense systems - in the area though.

The previous test in June involved the John Paul Jones firing SM-3 missiles at a ballistic target, and was not successful.

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While Tokyo said the North Korean test was "an unprecedented, serious and grave threat" to the Japanese nation, Pyongyang described it as "a meaningful prelude to containing Guam Island", as well as "decisive countermeasures against joint military exercises", referring to the US base in Micronesia and the joint US-South Korea drills respectively.

Last week, the House of Commons defence committee held a rare summer sitting to discuss the North Korea situation and to discuss whether Canada should consider joining the USA ballistic missile defence shield for North America.

In May, the USA, in the first test of its ground-based intercept system at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, intercepted an intercontinental ballistic missile launched from the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, which is 4,200 miles away.

Instead, Trump's terse, written statement reiterating that all USA options are being considered pointed to an administration cautiously searching for an effective policy, even as the North's test risked endangering Japanese civilians.

A medium-range ballistic missile target is launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii, during a defense test on August 29, 2017.