Earlier today, the US military successfully tested the Minuteman III, an intercontinental ballistic missile or ICBM, for effectiveness, readiness and accuracy. North Korea's reaction to this is still unknown as this may be interpreted as adding insult to injury, especially after Pyongyang's failed missile test last week.

What is the capability of the Minuteman III?

The Minuteman III (LGM-30G) is an ICBM designed in the 70s during the nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union. The missile is a single-reentry vehicle, which can only deliver one payload.

The US air force relies on these kinds of missiles to thwart any incoming ICBMs from any enemy state, in this case, North Korea.

Why did the US test the ICBM only now?

Reports reveal that the test was planned for almost a year now and has no connection with the developments in the Korean crisis. The US air force does quarterly test launches of ICBMs to regularly update and improve its capabilities. These test are important for the military to update the targeting system of these missiles and do the necessary update to make it more effective. Given the light of the situation with Pyongyang, it is important for America to have a working and accurate defense system against sudden attacks coming from the belligerent state.

The test was scheduled for April 26th. An ICBM is pulled randomly from a silo located at Warren Air force base and transported to Vandenberg air force base, California. It is launched by the members of the 625th strategic operations squadron aboard the US Strategic Command Airborne Command post navy E6B aircraft. The ICBM is unarmed and will travel approximately 4,200 miles from California to its target located near the Kwajalein atoll in the Pacific.

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What are reactions of different world leaders?

china has yet to respond to the said test launch, but has already showed contention on the installation of the THAAD missile system in Seoul. President Xi Jinping had already voiced his suggestion to President Trump on a phone call earlier this week, saying to avoid actions that could worsen the current situation in Korea.

At the moment, China is in the midst of talks with Pyongyang, hoping to convince the rogue state to meet at the diplomatic table with the US. However, given the build up of US presence in the Korean peninsula, it is unclear whether North Korea will succumb to the pressure or lash out in a preemptive strike, which it has threatened to do so during the past few days.