John Kirby announces delay in US ballistic missile test to avoid escalating tensions in China

US officials have postponed the long-awaited ICBM test amid tensions between China and Taiwan.

The Air Force originally planned to test launch this week from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California before the delay, officials said in a briefing.

The US has postponed the long-planned ICBM test due to tensions between China and Taiwan


The US has postponed the long-planned ICBM test due to tensions between China and Taiwan

John Kirby of the National Safety Council said the US is “demonstrating the behavior of a responsible nuclear power by reducing the risk of misjudgment and misperception”. ABC reported.

“This is a long-planned test, but it is being postponed to clear up any misunderstandings given the PRC’s actions in Taiwan,” the defense official said.

The delay comes as China conducts a four-day series of military exercises near Taiwan, The Wall Street Journal reported.

This is in response to a heavily scrutinized visit by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier this week.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping warned US President Joe Biden during a phone call last week that “whoever plays with fire will get burned” if he allows Pelosi to land in Taiwan.

China has repeatedly warned Pelosi against making the trip, while the US has warned Beijing not to turn the moment into a military crisis.

“There is no reason for Beijing to turn a potential visit into some sort of crisis or conflict, consistent with longstanding US policy, or to use it as a pretext to increase aggressive military activity in or around the Strait of Taiwan,” he said John Kirby, a National Security Council spokesman, told reporters Monday.

The planned flight of the Minuteman III missile is dubbed the “Glory Trip” and is used to test the accessibility of the ICBM.

However, the Pentagon also broke off the routine procedure at the beginning of March in order not to allow tensions with Vladimir Putin to escalate during the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Officials didn’t give a specific timeline for the Minuteman III’s launch, but said the new delay could last 10 days.


On Tuesday, China’s foreign ministry said it would “closely follow Pelosi’s itinerary” and “take decisive and effective measures to protect China’s sovereignty.”

“We are following Pelosi’s itinerary closely. If the US insists on going its own way, China will take decisive and effective measures to protect China’s sovereignty and security interests,” spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

The stark warning came a day after the State Department said the People’s Liberation Army “will not stand by” if Pelosi lands in their backyard.

Beijing is furious and has threatened to take action as it accuses the US of provoking them over the breakaway island the Communist Party has long claimed belongs to China.

The US Speaker of the House is second in the presidency, behind only Vice President Kamala Harris.

President Biden has said publicly that the US military discouraged Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan amid escalating tensions between the two nations.

However, Republicans have encouraged the speaker to continue.

Upon arrival, Pelosi said her talks with the Taiwanese leadership would focus on “promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific region.”

“Our congressional delegation’s visit to Taiwan recognizes America’s unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan’s vibrant democracy,” the House Speaker said in a statement.

“Our visit is part of our broader journey to the Indo-Pacific – including Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan – with a focus on mutual security, economic partnership and democratic governance.

“Our discussions with the Taiwanese leadership will focus on reaffirming our support for our partner and advancing our common interests, including promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

“America’s solidarity with the 23 million people of Taiwan is more important than ever today as the world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy.”

On Tuesday evening, Taiwan’s tallest building, Taipei 101, lit up with messages such as “Welcome to Taiwan,” “Speaker Pelosi,” and “Taiwan (Heart) USA.”

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