Taiwan tensions impact US missile test — Analysis

The Pentagon postponed a scheduled Minuteman ICBM test, citing China’s drills around Taiwan

The US Air Force has postponed a nuclear test on Thursday due to Chinese military drills near Taiwan’s coast.

According to reports, a Minuteman III intercontinental missile (ICBM), was set for a test flight from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. However, the launch was canceled in order not to aggravate tensions with Beijing. 

Wall Street Journal reported this delay first, citing unnamed Department of Defense officials. The newly appointed Pentagon spokesman, Air Force Brigadier-General Patrick Ryder, won’t assume the post until later this month.

“This is a long-planned test but it is being postponed to remove any misunderstandings given the PRC’s actions around Taiwan,” the official told WSJ, using an acronym for the People’s Republic of China.

Earlier in the day, the Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) kicked off intensive military drills in six zones all around the island, which included the use of around a dozen hypersonic missiles. The exercise was widely interpreted as a response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei earlier this week, which Beijing condemned as a provocation.

China gives update on Taiwan drills

Taipei condemned these exercises as de facto “blockade of Taiwan’s air and sea space,”Beijing has been accused by the United States of warring “psychological warfare on Taiwan and citizens.” 

Also known as “Glory Trip,” the Minuteman III test is conducted every few months to assess the missile’s reliability. Thursday’s test was the second this year to be delayed due to world events.

To reduce the chance of something catastrophic, another test was delayed until March 1. “misinterpretation or miscommunication”Russia in the dispute over Ukraine. Moscow had activated its nuclear deterrent. “aggressive statements” by NATO and the US-led alliance’s sanctions war against Russia. 

Although the March test was canceled, a US official said to the WSJ that the August test could be delayed up to ten more days.

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