WASHINGTON, July 11 (Reuters) - The United States said on Tuesday it successfully tested its THAAD missile defense system against an intermediate-range ballistic missile in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii and Alaska, a key area as tensions with North Korea mount.
A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) near Kodiak, Alaska, intercepted the ballistic missile target that was launched north of Hawaii, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) said in a statement.
Although the test was planned months ago, the U.S. missile defense test has gained significance following North Korea's July 4 launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that raised concerns about the threat from Pyongyang.
"The successful demonstration of THAAD against an IRBM-range missile threat bolsters the country's defensive capability against developing missile threats in North Korea and other countries around the globe and contributes to the broader strategic deterrence architecture," MDA said in the statement.
U.S. officials have said the test would be the first of the THAAD system to defend against a simulated attack by an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM). (Reporting by Idrees Ali; Writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)