US delays long-planned ICBM test amid tensions with China
NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!
The United States delayed a scheduled test of an intercontinental ballistic missile amid escalating tensions with China, which has deployed dozens of military aircraft and missiles to the Taiwan Strait in recent days, it said on Wednesday National Security Council spokesman John Kirby.
“We do not believe it is in our interests, Taiwan’s interests, the interests of the region to allow tensions to escalate further, which is why a Minuteman III ICBM test scheduled for this week has been rescheduled for the near future Kirby said. in a briefing at the White House.
“As China engages in destabilizing military exercises around Taiwan, the United States is instead demonstrating the behavior of a responsible nuclear power by reducing the risks of miscalculations and misperceptions.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., visited Taiwan earlier this week and met with President Tsai Ing-wen and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu.
China strongly condemned the visit and launched a series of live-fire military exercises in the waters around Taiwan, deploying J-20 stealth fighter jets and DF-17 hypersonic missiles.
Kirby said Thursday that the ICBM test delay will not affect the “modernization, readiness or reliability” of the US nuclear defense system, but Republican lawmakers immediately condemned the move.
PELOSI CHALLENGES CHINA DURING MEETING WITH TAIWANESE PRESIDENT TSAI ING-WEN: “WE WILL NOT ABANDON OUR COMMITMENT”
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., noted in a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin that this is the second time the U.S. has delayed an ICBM test this year after postponing an ICBM launch Minuteman III in March amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“Are these reports accurate? If so, how long does the administration intend to allow Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping to dictate our missile testing schedule?” Cotton asked Lloyd in the letter.
Alabama Rep. Mike Rogers, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, accused the Biden administration of canceling the tests to “appease [Chinese President Xi Jinping’s] temper tantrums”.
“These weak-kneed, pearl-clutching attempts at appeasement harm our preparedness and will only invite further aggression from our adversaries,” Rogers said in a statement Thursday.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Kirby defended the delay Thursday, saying the test will be rescheduled in the near future.
“The president believed, and the national security team believed, that strong, safe, and capable nuclear power can afford to wait a couple of weeks for a test to clarify, not just in word but in fact, how serious we are when we say we have no interest in escalating tensions,” he said on Thursday.
The Minuteman III ICBM is a nearly 80,000-pound silo-launched missile with a range of more than 6,000 miles that can travel at approximately 15,000 mph.
Fox News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report.