World · August 4, 2022

The US delays the long-planned ICBM test due to tensions with China

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The United States has delayed a scheduled test of an ICBM amid mounting tensions with China, which has deployed dozens of military aircraft and missiles in the Taiwan Strait in recent days, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Wednesday. .

“We do not believe it is in our interest, in Taiwan’s interest, in the region’s interest to allow further escalation of tensions, which is why a long-planned Minuteman III ICBM test scheduled for this week has been rescheduled for the next. future, “Kirby said at a White House briefing.

“While China engages in destabilizing military exercises around Taiwan, the United States is instead demonstrating the behavior of a responsible nuclear power by reducing the risks of miscalculations and misperception.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, visited Taiwan earlier this week and met with President Tsai Ing-wen and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu.

Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, left, speaks with US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as she prepares to leave Taipei, Taiwan.

Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, left, speaks with US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as she prepares to leave Taipei, Taiwan.
(Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs via AP)

China strongly condemned the visit and launched a series of live-fire military exercises in the waters around Taiwan, deploying J-20 stealth fighter jets and DF-17 hypersonic missiles.

Kirby said Thursday that the delay in the ICBM test will not affect the “modernization, readiness or reliability” of the US nuclear defense system, but Republican lawmakers immediately condemned the move.

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Senator Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Noted in a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin that it is the second time the U.S. has delayed an ICBM test this year after postponing an ICBM launch. Minuteman III in March during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“Are these reports accurate? If so, how long does the administration intend to allow Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping to dictate our missile test schedule?” Cotton asked Lloyd in the letter.

Alabama Representative Mike Rogers, the Republican chief of the House Armed Services Commission, accused the Biden administration of canceling the tests to “place [Chinese President Xi Jinping’s] whims “.

“These feeble attempts at pacification hurt our readiness and will only invite further aggression from our opponents,” Rogers said in a statement Thursday.

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Kirby defended the delay on Thursday, saying the test will be rescheduled for the foreseeable future.

“The president believed, and the national security team believed, that a strong, safe and capable nuclear power can afford to wait a couple of weeks for a test to clarify, not just in word but in deed, how serious we are when we say that we have no interest in escalating tensions, “he said Thursday.

The Minuteman III ICBM is a nearly 80,000-pound silo-launched missile with a range of over 6,000 miles that can travel at around 15,000 mph.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report.