The US Air Force conducted America’s first successful intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test of the year, firing an unarmed Minuteman III from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California yesterday morning. The missile landed in the Pacific Ocean at an undisclosed location.
The test comes in the wake of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un proclaiming that his country is suspending both ICBM and nuclear tests for the foreseeable future. Kim is getting ready to meet with President Trump in the coming weeks or months. An exact date and location for the historic meeting have yet to be determined, though neutral countries like Sweden and Switzerland are high on the list of probabilities.
As the Air Force Times notes, this was the first American ICBM test since August of 2017. Another test was originally planned for February of this year but was postponed. After the last test in 2017, Air Force officials announced that the ICBM had traveled roughly 4,200 miles to land near the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. No announcement was made about where this unarmed missile landed.
You can watch video of the test on YouTube:
While North Korean missile tests regularly make front page headlines in the US, American missile tests don’t receive much coverage at all. But you can bet that it gets attention in North Korea.
Kim’s meeting with Trump isn’t the only high-profile meeting that’s coming up. On Friday, Kim will walk across the line that divides North and South Korea to meet with South Korean president Moon Jae-in. And it should be an interesting preview of what’s to come when Kim and Trump finally meet face to face.
The White House has sent mixed messages in recent weeks, as President Trump often mischaracterizes Kim’s pledge to stop the country’s tests as a pledge to denuclearize. But the North Korean regime hasn’t made any such promise.
Diplomacy is good, but here’s hoping that Trump’s advisors, like the uber-hawkish John Bolton, aren’t setting the president up to fail. If Trump walks away from his meeting with Kim without a plan for complete denuclearization we can only hope that it’s not positioned by the Trump regime as a total loss. Otherwise the stalemate between North Korea and the US could turn into a very real war. John Bolton, who has openly called for a first strike against North Korea, is waiting in the wings for his chance to pounce if anything should go wrong. In the meantime, it appears the US will continue to conduct missile tests as usual.