UPDATE 5:57 p.m. EST:
The U.S. "successfully intercepted" an intercontinental ballistic missile during the first test of its ground-based intercept system, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said on Tuesday. During the first live-fire test event, the target was launched from the Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
"The intercept of a complex, threat-representative ICBM target is an incredible accomplishment for the GMD system and a critical milestone for
this program," said MDA Director Vice Adm. Jim Syring. "This system is vitally important to the defense of our homeland, and this test demonstrates that we have a capable, credible deterrent against a very real threat. I am incredibly proud of the warfighters who executed this test and who operate this system every day."
WATCH | Here's how the projectile would counter an intercontinental ballistic missile.
The missile is aimed to provide combatant commanders the ability to engage and destroy intermediate and long-range ballistic missile threats. The Pentagon's successful launch follows a series of ballistic missile tests conducted by North Korea.
ORIGINAL STORY: The Pentagon will test its ability to shoot down an intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time using its own long-range interceptor missiles on Tuesday in what is widely considered a test of the United States' ability to counter a possible North Korean missile launch, CNN reported.
The test is set to take place in the skies above the Pacific Ocean and comes two days after North Korea fired a short-range missile that splashed down inside of Japan's exclusive economic zone.
North Korea has shown great disrespect for their neighbor, China, by shooting off yet another ballistic missile...but China is trying hard!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 29, 2017
President Trump condemned the North Koreans' actions in a tweet.
The Pentagon says its test isn't solely in response to North Korea, but about any and all potential missile attacks, including a possible attack from Iran in the future.
During the test, an interceptor missile will be launched from a base in California that will be sent to stop a long-range missile launched by the Pentagon. Similar tests have been conducted in the past, but only about half of them have been successful.
Fears about North Korea are being increasingly expressed via social media.