90 Miles From Tyranny : US Delays ICBM Test to Avoid Escalating Tensions With China; Appeasement, Says Republican

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Sunday, August 7, 2022

US Delays ICBM Test to Avoid Escalating Tensions With China; Appeasement, Says Republican

For the second time in five months, the Pentagon is delaying a long-planned test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile, this time to signal to China that the U.S. does not want to escalate even further the current tensions over Taiwan.

A senior Republican senator blasted the decision, saying it was time for the U.S. to “project strength, rather than offer empty, conciliatory gestures” to authoritarian “bullies” like Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The White House announced the decision Thursday, at a time when China is firing ballistic missiles and carrying out military exercises unprecedented both in scale and in proximity to Taiwan, in a show of strength and protest against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit to the island.

“We do not believe it is in our interest, Taiwan’s interest, the region’s interest, 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 told a White House briefing.

Kirby said the postponement, which he indicated would only be for “a couple of weeks,” was aimed at demonstrating “the behavior of a responsible nuclear power by reducing the risks of miscalculation and misperception.”

Rescheduling the test of the would in no way impact the readiness or reliability of America’s nuclear deterrent, he said.

“The decision came in light and in context of the tensions that we’re seeing right now – and they’re pretty escalated. I mean, it’s – temperature is pretty high. “

“And the president believed, and the national security team believed, that a strong, confident, capable nuclear power can afford to wait a couple of weeks for a test to make it clear – not just in word, but in deed – how serious we are when we say we have no interest in escalating the tensions.”

The U.S. Air Force tests unarmed Minuteman IIIs about four times a year, launching them from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. Typically the dummy warhead splashes down in the Pacific Ocean near Kwajalein Atoll in the...

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