US lowers nuke tensions by cancelling ICBM test

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Russian President Vladimir Putin in February ordered his country’s nuclear forces to be put on high alert, prompting Washington to call for de-escalation in what could otherwise be a potential nuclear crisis…reports Asian Lite News

The United States has cancelled a planned test-launch of its Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in a bid to lower the nuclear tensions with Russia amid the ongoing military conflict in Ukraine, the US Air Force said.

The US Air Force’s press desk confirmed the cancellation to Xinhua, saying the reason for the decision was the same as when the Air Force announced the delay of the test on March 2, which was to avoid misinterpretation or miscommunication with Russia during Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine.

“The Department of the Air Force recently cancelled the routinely planned test flight of an LGM-30G Minuteman III missile scheduled for March 2022. The launch had been previously delayed due to an overabundance of caution to avoid misinterpretation or miscommunication during the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine and was cancelled for the same reason,” Ann Stefanek, the spokesperson for the Air Force, said in a statement, reported Xinhua.

“Our next planned test flight is later this year. The Department is confident in the readiness of the strategic forces of the United States,” Stefanek added.

Russian President Vladimir Putin in February ordered his country’s nuclear forces to be put on high alert, prompting Washington to call for de-escalation in what could otherwise be a potential nuclear crisis, Xinhua reported.

Earlier, the US had imposed fresh sanctions on five North Korean entities involved in the North’s recent missile tests that included its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch in over four years.

The five entities include the North’s Ministry of Rocket Industry (MoRI), Yonhap news agency reported, citing the Department of the Treasury.

“Today’s action targets a DPRK WMD research and development organisation that is directly linked to the development of new ICBMs, along with four of its revenue-generating subsidiaries,” the department said in a press release.

DPRK stands for the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

North Korea launched an apparent ICBM last Thursday, ending its self-imposed moratorium on long-range missile testing that had been in place since November 2017.

The treasury department noted two North Korean missile tests, staged February 27 and March 5, had also been related to testing a new ICBM system, as earlier identified by the US intelligence community.

“The DPRK’s provocative ballistic missile tests represent a clear threat to regional and global security and are in blatant violation of UN Security Council resolutions,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said, according to the treasury department.

The five entities added to the Office of Foreign Assets Control’s list include four subsidiaries of the North Korean rocket industry ministry. They are Hapjanggang Trading Corporation, Korea Rounsan Trading Corporation, Sungnisan Trading Corporation and Unchon Trading Corporation.

“These trading companies have pursued various activities likely aimed at generating revenue for MoRI,” said the press release, adding that such activities included establishing joint ventures in North Korea, pursuing large-scale projects with Chinese firms and exporting North Korean labor.

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