How would missile defense systems work against North Korea?

( CNN) If North Korea fires a missile at a US target or ally, there are a number of defense systems that could shoot it down.

The first piece of the controversial THAAD missile defense system arrived in South Korea Monday night, hours after North Korea test-fired four ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea.

The Patriot and Aegis systems are already deployed in the Pacific region.

THAAD, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, can shoot down short- and medium-range ballistic missiles in the latter stages of their flight as they plunge toward their targets.

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