U.S. conducts missile launch after postponing due to China tensions

U.S. conducts missile launch after postponing due to China tensions

ICBM test launched in Pacific

U.S. Air Force tests ballistic missile amid growing tensions with China

04: 02

minuteman iii ICBM launch
An Air Force Global Strike Command unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launched during an operational test at 12: 53 Pacific Time (Wednesday, August, 11, 2021), at Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif. 

Vandenberg Space Force Base, via Twitter

The Pentagon conducted an intercontinental ballistic missile launch less than two weeks after postponing the planned test due to tensions with China over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan

The Air Force said Tuesday it had launched an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile with a re-entry vehicle from Vandenberg Space Force Base, California. The re-entry vehicle traveled approximately 4,200 miles to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

The planned test was postponed in the days after Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan; China reacted to her trip by announcing live-fire exercises in the waters surrounding the island. 

“We do not believe it is in our interests, Taiwan’s interests, the region’s interests to allow tensions to escalate further, which is why a long planned Minuteman III ICBM test scheduled for this week has been rescheduled for the near future,” National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby said when announcing the decision to postpone. 

The Pentagon took a similar step in March when it postponed an ICBM test in order to avoid nuclear tensions with Russia after it invaded Ukraine and then canceled the test a few weeks later for the same reason. 

The Air Force said Tuesday’s test was routine and was not the result of current world events. 

“This scheduled test launch is demonstrative of how our nation’s ICBM fleet illustrates our readiness and reliability of the weapon system,” Col. Chris Cruise, 576th Flight Test Squadron Commander, said in a statement. 

Eleanor Watson

CBS News reporter covering the Pentagon.

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