The US military has successfully launched a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile, showcasing the country’s ability to counter “twenty-first century threats,” according to the defense forces.
Launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc, California, the unarmed missile traveled an estimated 4,194 miles (6,750km) across the Pacific Ocean to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, the Air Force Global Strike Command announced in a statement.
“The test demonstrates that the United States’ nuclear deterrent is robust, flexible, ready and appropriately tailored to deter twenty-first century threats and reassure our allies,” it said.
The Air Force stressed that the test was not a response to “world events or regional tensions.”
The Wednesday launch comes on the same day that North Korea fired “unidentified projectiles,” just hours after agreeing to resume talks with Washington.
Washington recently unilaterally withdrew from a key arms control accord, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, sparking concern that the move could lead to a new arms race.
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In August, the US military test-fired a ground version of a Tomahawk cruise missile that traveled about 310 miles (500km) before hitting a mock target. The weapon was banned under the now-defunct treaty. Moscow – which also left the INF after the US ditched it – said the test showed Washington had long planned to exit the treaty.
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