US launches intercontinental ballistic missile amid tensions with China and North Korea

The United States Air Force and Space Force launched an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, on Wednesday.

The test launch comes amid rising global nuclear tensions.

“The purpose of the ICBM test launch program is to validate and verify the safety, security, effectiveness, and readiness of the weapon system,” a statement from Vandenberg Space Force Base read.

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“The Airmen and Guardians who perform this vital mission are some of the most skillfully trained and dedicated personnel in America’s Air Force,” said Space Launch Delta 30 vice commander Col. Bryan Titus.

Ahead of the launch on Tuesday, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan warned that North Korea would “pay a price” if it provides Russia with weapons to use against Ukraine.

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