A US warship stationed off the coast of Hawaii shot down a medium-range ballistic missile in an interception test on Wednesday, 30 August. The US' Missile Defense Agency (MDA) said it was a "complex" defence test where the interceptor neutralised the intended target.

Though it is unclear whether the latest test has any direct connection to the events unfolding in the Korean peninsula due to the North's repeated missile launches, it gains additional significance due to the existing situation.

The US Navy's sailors aboard the USS John Paul Jones, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, tracked and targeted a missile fired from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii. The incoming target was intercepted by the Standard Missile-6 (SM-6) anti-warfare system.

"We are working closely with the fleet to develop this important new capability, and this was a key milestone in giving our Aegis BMD ships an enhanced capability to defeat ballistic missiles in their terminal phase. We will continue developing ballistic missile defense technologies to stay ahead of the threat as it evolves," Lieutenant General Sam Greaves, MDA Director, said.

The MDA said the agency did not have any more additional information currently to share about the launch.

This is the second time the SM-6 system has successfully intercepted the target as the first such test was conducted in December 2016.

North Korea Guam strike threat
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un claps with military officers at the Command of the Strategic Force of the Korean People's Army (KPA) in an unknown location in North Korea in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency KCNA via Reuters