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U.S. Launches Minuteman III Missile Test in Cloud of Secrecy


NEW YORK (IDN) – With little prior notice from military officials, the U.S. launched a Minuteman III Ballistic Missile on April 25 morning at approximately 5:26 a.m. from Vandenberg Air Force Base. Civilians and residents living near the base, who regularly receive ample notice of missile tests, were left in the dark this time as the missile raced through the early morning sky, according to the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.

The U.S conducts three or four ICBM tests each year. These are the same class of missiles for which the U.S. has been highly critical of the North Koreans for developing and testing, the Santa Barbara based Foundation said.

Its President David Krieger upon hearing of the launch stated: "When it comes to missile testing, the U.S. operates on a clear double standard. If the U.S. wants other countries to stop their missile tests, it should lead by example."

This test is particularly disappointing because it was conducted just over a day in advance of the planned summit of the leaders of North and South Korea, noted Rick Wayman, Director of Programs and Operations at the Foundation.

This summit will be the third inter-Korean summit and the first of its kind in eleven years. “It’s very disappointing that the United States chose to test an ICBM today (April 25), just days before the long-awaited summit between Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in," commented Wayman. "If we expect North Korea to cease developing and testing ICBMs, the least the U.S. could do is cease testing it's own ICBMs while these delicate negotiations proceed.”

This latest missile test demonstrated uncharacteristic secrecy by the U.S. Air Force in that it gave little advance notice of the test, the Foundation said in a press release. There are many good reasons to notify residents in the area of the launch and also to notify other nuclear-armed nations to assure them that it is a test launch and not an actual attack, it added.

Krieger further commented, “In addition to checking the reliability of the hardware and training missile crews to launch it, missile launches also send messages. In this case, the message is: ‘We are powerful enough and arrogant enough to use these missiles if you don’t do what we wish.’ If we want to create a peaceful world, that’s entirely the wrong kind of message to send.”

The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation's mission is to educate and advocate for peace and a world free of nuclear weapons and to empower peace leaders. Founded in 1982, it is comprised of individuals and organizations worldwide who realize the imperative for peace in the Nuclear Age. The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation is a non-partisan, non-profit organization with consultative status to the United Nations. [IDN-InDepthNews – 25 April 2018]

Photo: An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base on May 3, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. William Collette)

IDN is flagship agency of the International Press Syndicate.

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