On Tuesday, the US military carried out a test of a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) after the launch was delayed over China’s drills around Taiwan that came in the wake of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island.
US Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) said the ICBM was launched from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. It was unarmed and equipped with a test reentry vehicle, which traveled 4,200 miles and splashed down near the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.
The nuclear-capable Minuteman III is produced by Boeing and has a range of over 6,000 miles.
The command downplayed the idea that the test had anything to do with current global tensions. “Such tests have occurred more than 300 times before, and this test is not the result of current world events,” AFGSC said.
The Pentagon previously delayed the test because it did not want to ratchet up tensions further with China, although the US is planning to send warships and warplanes into the Taiwan Strait in the coming weeks.
The US has a dark history of weapons testing in the Marshall Islands, where from 1946 to 1958, 67 nuclear tests were conducted. To this day, many areas are still uninhabitable due to high radiation levels. The US has refused to properly compensate the people of the Marshall Islands for the health problems and environmental damage the testing caused.