The US Air Force has test-launched an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads, a move that is expected to escalate simmering tensions with North Korea over its development of missiles and nuclear weapons.
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 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…