US Test Fires ICBM, Declares It a ‘Visible Message of National Security’

Fear over short range North Korean tests, but little mention of much bigger US arms

On Tuesday, North Korea fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile in the Sea of Japan, a test which got a lot of attention because it landed in Japanese waters, although it did not hit anything. The US chided them, urging them to show restraint and avoid provocations.

Vocal US concerns about provocations lasted until about 1:00 AM Pacific Time the next morning, when the US Air Force test fired an intercontinental ballistic missile, which flew 4,200 miles from California to the Marshall Islands.

Interestingly, while media reports echoed US concerns about North Korea’s short-range test, reports on the much bigger US test of a much bigger weapon were sparse, and certainly didn’t express serious concerns about what the implications of this test would be. Nor, indeed, were there mentions of the obvious fact this was a test launched specifically over North Korea.

The Air Force statement on the matter was a lot more clear about what this was, saying it was a “visible message of national security,” and was meant to prove the US retains a nuclear deterrent.

These are clearly not the sort of things any other nation could get away with saying in testing the delivery mechanism for a weapon of mass destruction, and at the very least concern about the nation’s intentions, and recent aggression, would be brought up.

In fact, more was made of China showing off arms in a parade than of the US testing a nuclear-capable ICBM, though the US arms have a range which would allow the firing of nuclear arms at China, at a time when the Pentagon is already dialing up anti-China rhetoric.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of