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US Missile Defense System in South Korea Operational

A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor is launched during a successful intercept test, in this undated photo provided by the U.S. Department of Defense.

The U.S. military says a missile defense system being set up in South Korea is now capable of intercepting missiles fired from North Korea.

The Terminal High Altitude Defense (THAAD) has "initial intercept capability," defense officials said.But they cautioned that work will continue in the coming months to make the system fully operational.

THAAD is being installed on the site of a former golf course in Seongju with the goal of helping protect against ballistic missiles fired from North Korea.

China has strongly opposed the deployment, seeing the system as a potential threat.

North Korea has been working to develop ballistic missiles and in recent months conducted a string of failed tests, the latest coming Saturday.

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