US carries out long-range nuclear missile test after Chinese drills amid Taiwan tensions
As the US and China are locked in tension over a host of major issues in particular Taiwan, Washington says it carried out an intercontinental ballistic missile test to show "the readiness of US nuclear forces.”
The test “provides confidence in the lethality and effectiveness of the nation's nuclear deterrent," a US military statement said Tuesday.
According to Press TV, the nuclear-capable Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile traveled about 4,200 miles (6760 km) and was launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
The US, which has by far the biggest arsenals of nuclear warheads, said about 300 such tests have been carried out previously and that it was not the result of any specific global event.
Tuesday's ICBM test had been delayed “to avoid escalation” during China's military drills near Taiwan earlier this month.
China’s military drills in the Taiwan Strait came after US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a controversial trip to the self-ruled island and met President Tsai Ing-wen. China considers Taiwan part of its territory.
Beijing described Pelosi’s visit to the island as a “gross violation of China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
US President Joe Biden's administration has said that it would continue to carry out routine air and naval operations in the Taiwan Strait in the coming weeks.
On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the United States of seeking to destabilize the Asia-Pacific region, in a reference to the US interference in Taiwan.
Putin said denounced Pelosi’s controversial visit to Taiwan, calling it “a carefully planned provocation”.
"The American adventure in relation to Taiwan is not just a trip of an individual irresponsible politician, but part of a purposeful, conscious US strategy to destabilize and make chaotic the situation in the region and the world," he said.
Putin said in February that his nation's nuclear forces should be put on high alert as US moves have raised fears of a nuclear war.