US launches nuclear-capable Minuteman III in routine test – ABC News

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US launches nuclear-capable Minuteman III in routine test
The United States military has launched a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile as part of a routine test of the readiness and reliability of US nuclear forces. 
The test launch was delayed to avoid escalating tensions with Beijing during China's show of force near Taiwan after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taipei.
The nuclear-capable Minuteman III, made by Boeing, is key to the US military's strategic arsenal.
The missile was launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California and travelled about 6,760 kilometres. 
It has a range of more than 9,660 kilometres and can travel at approximately 24,000 kilometres per hour.
The US Air Force said the launch was not linked to current world events.
“Make no mistake, our nuclear triad is the cornerstone of the national security of our country and of our allies around the globe," flight test squadron commander Chris Cruise said. 
“This scheduled test launch is demonstrative of how our nation’s ICBM fleet illustrates our readiness and reliability of the weapon system.
"It is also a great platform to show the skill sets and expertise of our strategic weapons maintenance personnel and of our missile crews who maintain an unwavering vigilance to defend the homeland.”
US President Joe Biden's administration says it will continue to carry out routine air and naval operations in the Taiwan Strait in the coming weeks.
China's military said it carried out more exercises near Taiwan on Monday as a group of US politicians visited the Chinese-claimed island and met President Tsai Ing-wen, who said her government was committed to maintaining stability.
We've been hearing a lot about tensions between China and Taiwan lately. It's a complicated situation to get up to speed with — but we've got you covered.
The US military cancelled a Minuteman III test in April with the aim to lower nuclear tensions with Russia during the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in February that his nation's nuclear forces should be put on high alert, raising fears that Russia's invasion of Ukraine could lead to nuclear war.
But US officials have said they have seen no reason so far to change Washington's nuclear alert levels.
Russia and the United States have by far the biggest arsenals of nuclear warheads after the Cold War that divided the world for much of the 20th century, pitting the West against the Soviet Union and its allies.
ABC/Reuters
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