The US military confirmed it had carried out routine tests of unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). The military had delayed the testing of the ICBMs on two occasions this year, with the US Defence Department saying the postponement of tests “exemplified how a responsible nuclear nation should behave”.
The delay came in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with a second postponement announced following the escalation of tensions around Taiwan.
In March, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said the international community saw Putin’s actions in Ukraine as “dangerous and irresponsible”, but Washington wished to be clear not to be “misconstrued”.
Mr Kirby said: “So, in an effort to demonstrate that we have no intention of engaging in any actions that can be misunderstood or misconstrued, the secretary of defense has directed that our Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile test launch scheduled for this week to be postponed.”
He added: “We did not take this decision lightly, but instead to demonstrate that we are a responsible nuclear power.”
The tests were then rescheduled to the beginning of August, which coincided with US Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s highly controversial visit to Taiwan.
Before the tests were conducted, Mr Kirby said the missiles would instead be launched at some point in the near future.
Mr Kirby once again reiterated that the move was in the interest of being a “responsible nuclear power”.
He said: “As China engages in destabilizing military exercises around Taiwan, the United States is demonstrating instead the behavior of a responsible nuclear power by reducing the risks of miscalculation and misperception.”
He continued: “We do not believe it is in our interest, Taiwan’s interest, the region’s interests, to allow tensions to escalate further, which is why a long-planned Minuteman III ICBM test scheduled for this week has been rescheduled for the near future.”
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