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US carries out ICBM test delayed during Chinese show-of-force over Taiwan

US carries out ICBM test delayed during Chinese show-of-force over Taiwan

An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test at the Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, on Aug 2, 2017. (File photo: US Air Force/Senior Airman Ian Dudley/Handout via Reuters)

WASHINGTON: The United States military said on Tuesday (Aug 16) that it had carried out a test of a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile, delayed to avoid escalating tensions with Beijing during China's show of force near Taiwan earlier this month.

China deployed scores of planes and fired live missiles in the Taiwan Strait after US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a trip to the self-ruled island. China considers Taiwan part of its territory and has never renounced using force to bring it under its control.

The test showed "the readiness of US nuclear forces and provides confidence in the lethality and effectiveness of the nation's nuclear deterrent", a US military statement said.

The military said about 300 such tests had occurred before and it was not the result of any specific global event.

In April, the US military canceled a test of its Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile. That delay had aimed to lower nuclear tensions with Russia during the ongoing war in Ukraine.

The nuclear-capable Minuteman III, made by Boeing, is key to the US military's strategic arsenal. The missile has a range of 9,660-plus kms and can travel at a speed of approximately 24,000kmh.

Missiles are dispersed in hardened underground silos operated by launch crews.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in February that his nation's nuclear forces should be put on high alert, raising fears that Russia's invasion of Ukraine could lead to nuclear war. But US officials have said they have seen no reason so far to change Washington's nuclear alert levels.

Russia and the US have by far the biggest arsenals of nuclear warheads after the Cold War that divided the world for much of the 20th century, pitting the West against the Soviet Union and its allies.

Source: Reuters/rc

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