The U.S. Air Force test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile from a base in California early on Wednesday amid increasing tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
The nuclear-capable missile was unarmed according to the Air Force and traveled over 4,000 miles before splashing down in the South Pacific
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The unarmed Minuteman III missile was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, 130 miles northwest of Los Angeles, California, and successfully hit the target near the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.
The test was aimed at assessing the effectiveness, readiness, and accuracy of the missile system, the USAF said.
Colonel John Moss, the commander of the 30th Space Wing, said the Minuteman missiles need to be tested on a regular basis to ensure their reliability and to demonstrate the national nuclear capabilities.
The timing of the test was questioned by peace groups, with the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation calling it a “double standard” in the wake of rising tensions with Pyongyang.
“When it comes to missile testing, the US is operating with a clear double standard: It views its own tests as justified and useful, while it views the tests of North Korea as threatening and destabilizing,” the foundation’s president David Krieger said in a statement on Tuesday.
“What is needed is diplomacy rather than military provocations. Threats, whether in the form of tweets, nuclear-capable aircraft carrier groups, or nuclear-capable missile launches, only increase the dangers to us all.”
Washington has warned Pyongyang of a military confrontation if it does not stop its development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
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