Santa Barbara – The United States launched a Minuteman III Ballistic Missile this morning at approximately 5:26 a.m. from Vandenberg Air Force Base. There was little prior notice from military officials regarding this latest test. Civilians and residents living near the base, who regularly receive ample notice of missile tests, were left in the dark this morning as the missile raced through the early morning sky.
The U.S typically conducts three or four ICBM tests each year. These are the same class of missiles for which the U.S. has been highly critical of the North Koreans for developing and testing. David Krieger, President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, upon hearing of the launch stated, “When it comes to missile testing, the U.S. operates on a clear double standard. If the U.S. wants other countries to stop their missile tests, it should lead by example.”
This test is particularly disappointing because it was conducted just over a day in advance of the planned summit of the leaders of North and South Korea. This summit will be the third inter-Korean summit and the first of its kind in eleven years. Rick Wayman, Director of Programs and Operations at the Foundation, commented, “It’s very disappointing that the United States chose to test an ICBM today, just days before the long-awaited summit between Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in. If we expect North Korea to cease developing and testing ICBMs, the least the U.S. could do is cease testing it’s own ICBMs while these delicate negotiations proceed.”
This latest missile test demonstrated uncharacteristic secrecy by the U.S. Air Force in that it gave little advance notice of the test. There are many good reasons to notify residents in the area of the launch and also to notify other nuclear-armed nations to assure them that it is a test launch and not an actual attack.
Krieger further commented, “In addition to checking the reliability of the hardware and training missile crews to launch it, missile launches also send messages. In this case, the message is, ‘We are powerful enough and arrogant enough to use these missiles if you don’t do what we wish.’ If we want to create a peaceful world, that’s entirely the wrong kind of message to send.”
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If you would like to interview David Krieger, President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation or Rick Wayman, Director of Programs and Operations, please call the Foundation at (805) 965-3443.
The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s mission is to educate and advocate for peace and a world free of nuclear weapons and to empower peace leaders. Founded in 1982, the Foundation is comprised of individuals and organizations worldwide who realize the imperative for peace in the Nuclear Age. The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation is a non-partisan, non-profit organization with consultative status to the United Nations. For more information, visit wagingpeace.org.