A White House official confirmed the Pentagon will, for the second time, delay a planned intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test launch due to increased tensions with China over Taiwan. The issue was exacerbated this week when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a congressional delegation on an Asia tour that included a stop in Taiwan.
“A long-planned Minuteman III ICBM test, scheduled for this week, has been rescheduled for the near future,” John Kirby, the National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications, said to reporters during the White House daily briefing.
“As China engages in destabilizing military exercises around Taiwan, the United State is demonstrating instead the behavior of a responsible nuclear power by reducing the risks of miscalculation and misperception.”
The decision to delay the test was made despite China firing missiles into the Taiwan Strait earlier in the day. The country also deployed planes and warships to the area in moves believed to be a direct response to Pelosi’s visit.
This is the second delay of the Minuteman III test. After Russia invaded Ukraine and escalated its rhetoric against the US, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin rolled over and ordered the test to be pushed back in an attempt to cool down tensions.
The Minuteman III missiles are kept in underground silos in five western states. They’re tested several times per year and can be launched within minutes of the presidents order.