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Amid South China Sea tensions, US and China conduct nuclear missile tests  

nuclear warheads, us, china, south china sea

Washington/Beijing: As warnings of a possible flare-up of war between the US and China in the South China Sea are coming forth, both nations were also found to have tested nuclear warheads. On Monday, the US declared the successful execution of tests of the intercontinental ballistic missile ‘Minuteman – III’. Previously, China had announced the testing of the Dongfeng-26 and Dongfeng-16 intercontinental ballistic missiles. After the tests, China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had warned that they were in a state of high alert.  

nuclear warheads, us, china, south china seaOn Monday, 12:21 am local time on August 4, the intercontinental ballistic missile ‘Minuteman – III’ was launched from the Vanderberg Air Force Base in California. The Global Strike Command of the US Air Force, test-launched the missile, carrying three unarmed reentry vehicles and using the aircraft’s Airborne Launch Control System (ALCS). The US officials informed that the missile travelled about 4,200 miles and landed into the Pacific waters near the Marshall Islands. The test launch proved that the US missile system used for nuclear deterrence is safe, reliable and effective, assured Test Squadron Commander Colonel Omar Colbert.  

Since 1970, the Minuteman – III intercontinental ballistic missile, which is a part of the US nuclear triad, has a range of up to 10,000 km. The weapon can travel at speeds of Mach-23 (23 times the speed of sound), which is the fastest so far, is capable of carrying a thermonuclear warhead. Currently, the US is said to have 400 operational Minuteman – III missiles. The US tests assume much significance given China is currently engaged in activities to expand its nuclear capabilities.    

nuclear warheads, us, china, south china seaOn the sidelines of the latest US nuclear tests, even China was found to have tested two missiles with nuclear warheads. The Rocket Force of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), has informed to have tested the Dongfeng – 26 and Dongfeng – 16 intercontinental ballistic missiles. Although the photographs of the tests were released, details on when the tests were conducted have not been disclosed. The website ‘81.cn’, which is associated with the PLA, has published the report.   

We are in a state of high-alert for war and are ready for accurate and rapid response, warned Rocket Force Commander Liu Yang. The Dongfeng – 26 is a long-range intercontinental ballistic missile with a range of approximately 4,000 km. China has claimed that the weapon was capable of sinking the US’ large aircraft carriers. Besides, the Dongfeng – 16 intercontinental ballistic missile has the range between 800 to 1000 km. Both the Dongfeng – 23 and the Dongfeng – 13 can carry nuclear warheads and are equipped to launch thermonuclear weapons. 

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