US tests ICBM after North Korea missile launch
The United States military has test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) shortly after North Korea unveiled a strategic missile.
The US Air Force on Wednesday fired an unarmed Minuteman 3 ICBM from its Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
The missile flew from the base northwest of Los Angeles and its re-entry vehicle laded on the designated target 4,200-mile (6,760-kilometer) away at the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.
The test came shortly after North Korea fired a brand new Pukkuksong-3 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).
On early Thursday, Pyongyang hailed the test and said it was of “great significance.”
“The successful new-type SLBM test-firing comes to be of great significance as it ushered in a new phase in containing the outside forces’ threat to the DPRK and further bolstering its military muscle for self-defense,” state news agency KCNA said.
The test drew a response from the US, with a State Department spokeswoman asking Pyongyang to “refrain from provocations” and focus on denuclearization talks instead.
An Air Force Global Strike Command statement said later on Wednesday that the ICBM test was designed months ago to demonstrate the capability of the Minuteman system and was not a response to “world events or regional tensions.”
Pyongyang conducted the test hours after it expressed willingness to resume talks with the US by holding working-level negotiations on October 5.
Talks aimed at ending North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs in exchange for economic incentives stalled in February, when a second summit between South Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump collapsed in Vietnam.
North Korea had been developing SLBM technology before halting long-range missile and nuclear tests at the first Trump-Kim summit in Singapore in 2018.
North Korean experts have been running a rocket engine program to develop engines that burn solid fuel. Compared to liquid fuel, solid fuel is more stable and versatile, and therefore cam be stored in missiles until they are ready for launch.