The United States military announced today the test of a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile, which had been delayed to avoid escalating tensions with Beijing during a show of force by China near Taiwan earlier this month.
China deployed dozens of aircraft and fired live missiles into the Taiwan Strait after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the self-ruled island. China considers Taiwan part of its territory and has not renounced the use of force to bring it under its control.
The test demonstrated “the readiness of US nuclear forces and provides confidence in the lethality and effectiveness of the nation’s nuclear deterrent,” the US military said in a statement.
The military said there had been about 300 tests previously and this one was not the result of any specific international event.
In April, the US military canceled a test of its Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile. The delay was intended to reduce nuclear tensions with Russia during the ongoing war in Ukraine.
The Minuteman III, which can carry a nuclear warhead, is made by Boeing ( BA.N ) and is key to the U.S. military’s strategic arsenal. The missile has a range of 6,000+ miles (9,660+ kilometers) and a speed of about 15,000 miles per hour (24,000 kilometers per hour).
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in February that his country’s nuclear forces should be put on high alert, sparking fears that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could lead to nuclear war. But US officials have said they see no reason yet to change the US nuclear alert levels.
Russia and the US have by far the largest arsenals of nuclear weapons since the Cold War that divided the world into two camps for most of the 20th century, pitting the West against the Soviet Union and its allies.