U.S. TO CONDUCT MISSILE TEST OVER PACIFIC SATURDAY

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 7, 2001 – Radio Australia)---The United States will conduct a missile-interception test over the Pacific Ocean on Saturday.

The test will be part of an ongoing program aimed at eventually developing an antiballistic missile defense system.

The Pentagon announced that an intercontinental ballistic missile, complete with a dummy warhead, will be launched from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Twenty minutes later, a prototype interceptor missile will be launched from the Ronald Reagan Missile Test Facility in the Marshall Islands.

The missile then is to be intercepted ten minutes later, 225 kilometers (135 miles) above the Pacific Ocean.

Despite international objections, U.S. President George W. Bush has emphasized that Washington must go ahead with its $60 billion missile defense system.

He said the system is necessary to protect U.S. interests from attack by what Washington considers to be "rogue states," such as North Korea, Iran and Libya.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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