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US successfully tests intercontinental ballistic missile

US successfully tests intercontinental ballistic missile

FILE PHOTO: An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test on May 9, 2019, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. (Photo: Reuters/US Air Force)

LOS ANGELES: The US military said on Wednesday (Oct 2) it had tested an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile equipped with re-entry vehicle from a base in California across the Pacific Ocean.

Launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 1.13am local time, the re-entry vehicle travelled about 6,750km across the Pacific Ocean to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, the Air Force Global Strike Command said in a statement.

"The test demonstrates that the United States' nuclear deterrent is robust, flexible, ready and appropriately tailored to deter 21st century threats and reassure our allies," it said.

"Test launches are not a response or reaction to world events or regional tensions," it added.

The United States has spent decades and billions of dollars developing technologies to stop an incoming ballistic missile, and is aiming to step up efforts in the face of growing threats.

North Korea became the latest entrant to the ICBM club in 2017 when it tested the Hwasong-15, which analysts say is capable of reaching the whole US mainland.

On Wednesday, North Korea fired what appeared to be a "submarine-launched ballistic missile", South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.

The missile was "believed to be one of the Pukkuksong models", the JCS said in a statement, referring to a line of submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) under development by the North.

In August 2016, North Korea carried out a successful test of the Pukkuksong-1, also known as KN-11, which flew around 500km.

The test comes a day after Pyongyang signalled a resumption of nuclear talks with the US.

The two sides will have "preliminary contact" on Friday and hold negotiations the following day, North Korea's Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.

US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus later confirmed the talks, which she said would happen "within the next week".

Source: AFP/ic


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