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DATE=10/12/1999 TYPE=EDITORIAL TITLE=EDITORIAL: MISSILE DEFENSE SUCCESS NUMBER=0-08483 CONTENT= THIS IS THE ONLY EDITORIAL BEING RELEASED FOR BROADCAST 10/12/99. Anncr: The Voice of America presents differing points of view on a wide variety of issues. Next, an editorial expressing the policies of the United States Government: Voice: This month, the United States conducted another successful missile defense test. High above the Pacific Ocean, an interceptor hit a target warhead at a speed of about twenty-four thousand kilometers per hour and completely destroyed it. The target warhead had been released from a modified Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missile launched from California. It was hit by a prototype "kill vehicle" launched twenty minutes later from the Marshall Islands, nearly seven-thousand kilometers away. The test demonstrated the ability to hit and destroy a warhead traveling at an extremely high speed from thousands of kilometers away. This capability shows that it would be possible to destroy or neutralize a nuclear, chemical, or biological warhead before it could cause any harm. If developed and deployed, such a missile defense could protect the U.S. from a missile attack launched by a rogue state or by international terrorists capable of developing or acquiring long-range ballistic missiles. A U.S. decision to deploy a national missile defense against long-range ballistic missiles could be as early next year. More tests will be required, and U.S. officials will have to weigh the results. Among other factors, the cost of such a system will have to be considered. This is the second successful missile defense test in recent months. In June, a system known as THAAD, or Theater High Altitude Area Defense, was tested in the skies over the U.S. state of New Mexico. In that test, an interceptor destroyed a Scud-like missile launched from nearly two-hundred kilometers away. Over the next decade, a theater missile defense will be deployed to protect U.S. troops in the Middle East, South Korea, or elsewhere against missiles like the Scuds that Iraq launched in the Persian Gulf War. Some twenty-five countries, including Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, already have such missiles. Countering the threat from long-range and theater missiles will require continuing technical advances and diplomatic initiatives. Both will be necessary to insure that the U.S. remains secure. Anncr: That was an editorial expressing the policies of the United States Government. If you have a comment, please write to Editorials, V-O-A, Washington, D-C, 20547, U-S-A. You may also comment at www-dot-voa-dot-gov-slash-editorials, or fax us at (202) 619-1043. 08-Oct-1999 12:24 PM EDT (08-Oct-1999 1624 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .