VANDENBERG AFB, CA - MAY 30: A ground-based interceptor rocket is launched on May 30, 2017 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The rocket from Vandenberg successfully intercepted and destroyed a target missile in space - most likely above waters east of Hawaii that have been temporarily closed to all shipping. (Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Photo: Al Seib/LA Times via Getty Images
Photo: Al Seib/LA Times via Getty Images

U.S. shoots down mock ICBM in historic test of missile defense system

The Pentagon announced that the United States on Tuesday tested for the first time its intercontinental ballistic missile defense system, a system designed to foil the types of missiles Kim Jong-un and North Korea have been looking to develop.

>> RELATED: North Korea just launched another test missile and this time it flew hundreds of miles

According to Reuters, the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) interceptor test took place today at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

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The test was a success.

“We improve and learn from each test, regardless of the outcome. That’s the reason we conduct them,” Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said Tuesday. “The system that we test today is a developmental system that’s being flown for the first time and we look forward to understanding the results so we continue to mature the system and stay ahead of the threat.”

While the test is said not to be just about North Korea, the timing indicates that it has everything to do with Kim Jong-un’s recent ballistic missile tests.

The most recent test launch over the weekend flew roughly 248 miles and landed within Japan’s exclusive economic zone, CNN reported.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe responded to that test by promising “specific action.”

“As we agreed at the recent G7, the issue of North Korea is a top priority for the international community,” Abe said Monday. “Working with the United States, we will take specific action to deter North Korea.”

The Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance’s founder Riki Ellison told Reuters the defense test was North Korea-focused.

The test was done to “replicat[e] our ability to defend the United States of America from North Korea, today,” he said.

Reuters described the GMD’s effect as “hitting a bullet with a bullet,” though we’re talking about really big bullets.

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