The decision to postpone a test flight of an unarmed Minuteman III ICBM came after China launched military exercises in response to Pelosi’s visit.
“Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has instructed the Department of Defense to delay the planned test flight as a prudent move,” the official said.
The decision was made due to “increased military activity by the People’s Republic of China around Taiwan,” the official said. “This is what responsible countries do,” the official said of the delay. The test was supposed to take place on Wednesday evening on Thursday. This will now happen at a later date to be determined.
China followed through on its promise that Taipei would pay for Pelosi’s hosting by firing multiple missiles Thursday into waters near northeastern and southwestern Taiwan.
This is not the first time in recent months that the United States has canceled missile tests due to geopolitical events. In March, Austin canceled a planned test of the Minute Man III ICBM to avoid “any action that could be misunderstood or misinterpreted” at a time of heightened tensions with Russia, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said at the time.
Unarmed U.S. ICBMs are regularly tested to ensure system reliability.