US launches unarmed ICBM from California in test

World Today

An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ian Dudley)

The U.S. Air Force successfully launched an unarmed intercontinental ballistic missile from California, the fourth such test this year.

CGTN’s Jack Barton reports.

The 30th Space Wing says the Minuteman III missile launched at 2:10 a.m. Wednesday from Vandenberg Air Force Base, about 130 miles (209 kilometers) northwest of Los Angeles.

An Air Force statement said the test would show the effectiveness, readiness, and accuracy of the weapon system.

Minuteman missiles are regularly tested with launches from Vandenberg that send unarmed re-entry vehicles 4,200 miles (6,800 kilometers) across the Pacific to a target area at Kwajalein Atoll.

However, the latest U.S. launches come amid tensions with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea as that nation develops its own ICBMs.

Flight data on the DPRK’s most recent test, conducted Friday, showed that a broad part of the mainland United States, including Los Angeles and Chicago, is now in range of Pyongyang’s weapons, according to analysts.

In response, the U.S. Air Force flew two B-1 bombers over the Korean Peninsula on Sunday in a show of force. The U.S. also said it conducted a successful test of a missile defense system located in Alaska.

Previous Minuteman ICBM launches this year were conducted in February, April and May. That month, the Air Force also conducted a test of a missile interceptor launched from Vandenberg. The interceptor destroyed a mock warhead over the Pacific.

Lyle Goldstein discusses rising tensions between the US and the DPRK

CGTN’s Mike Walter spoke with Lyle Goldstein, an associate professor in the China Maritime Studies Institute at the U.S. Naval War College. They discussed the most recent U.S. sanctions, conflicting messages from the Trump administration to the DPRK, what can be done to defuse the tensions between the two countries, and more.

Story by the Associated Press