The U.S. military will delay an intercontinental ballistic missile test planned for this week to avoid provoking North Korea amid growing war rhetoric from Pyongyang, media reports said Sunday.
An unidentified senior defence official was quoted as saying the administration had made a “prudent and wise” decision to postpone Tuesday’s launch from a California air base.
Heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula in recent weeks led to threats from Pyongyang to attack US targets with nuclear weapons, and warnings to diplomatic missions in the North Korean capital that their safety could not be guaranteed if war broke out.
US officials said the missile test was scheduled long ago and had nothing to do with North Korea, but it was unclear how the young and untested Kim Jong Un would react as he attempts to assert his leadership over the secretive state.
The Pentagon official quoted in the latest reports said the US wanted to “avoid any misperception or miscalculation” that might result from a test of the Minuteman 3 missile at this time.
S Korea’s top military officer puts off US trip
South Korea’s top military officer has put off a visit to Washington because of escalating tensions with North Korea that have also compelled more than a dozen South Korean companies to halt operations at a joint factory complex in the North, officials said Sunday.
The tensions led South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Jung Seung—jo to cancel his plan to meet with U.S. counterpart, Gen. Martin Dempsey, in Washington on April 16 for regular talks.
The allies have agreed to reschedule the meeting because Jung couldn’t be away from South Korea for several days at a time when North Korea is intensifying its rhetoric, said a South Korean Joint Chiefs spokesman who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing office policy.