In a move that many are calling a sign that the U.S. may be anticipating attacks from the foreign country, the U.S. Military officially and successfully tested the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in Alaska just this week. THAAD has a proven record of defending the U.S. against short, medium and intermediate range ballistic missiles launched from both offshore and home soil.
Though the U.S. Military fired the original rocket purely for testing purposes, they did set up the reenactment to closely mimic what might happen if North Korea did send a nuclear missile towards North America.
North Korean Missiles
North Korean leaders have claimed to have the nuclear missile power required to specifically target Alaska, though little hard evidence exists to prove that they have the technology required to make it onto U.S. soil. A single photo of a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile allegedly taken in North Korea, spurred on conversation about what would happen if an attack succeeded. North Korea’s last Hwasong-14 test made it only to the Sea of Japan before crashing to the ocean floor after technical issues.
A missile from North Korea would have to travel approximately 4,163 miles to make it into Alaska, greatly lessening the chance of a successful attack. Such an attack even reaching Korea remains purely an estimation, making the THAAD test more of a “just in case” move than a sign of true concern.
This week’s missile defense test made it clear that America does have both the technology and the military prowess to defend itself from nuclear attack should such an attack occur. A single rocket fired from an Air Force C-17 transport aircraft over the Pacific Ocean careened towards Kodiak, Alaska, where it was immediately intercepted and destroyed by the THAAD system during the final phase of flight.
Show of Force
The THAAD testing exercise may have also been a show of force on behalf of the United States; Trump called it “flexing our muscles” when asked about the test. North Korea’s main newspaper, the Rodong, responded by warning the POTUS not to “…play with fire on a powder keg.”
It also commented on the fact that America’s THAAD testing could push North Korea into further action or even all-out nuclear war.
“The US, with its dangerous military provocation, is pushing the risk of a nuclear war on the peninsula to a tipping point.” Rudong journalists also described North Korea as the, “world’s biggest tinderbox.”