US launches missile test from California

US launches missile test from California
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The U.S. on Wednesday tested an unarmed intercontinental ballistic missile from California, but the Air Force says it was not meant to be a response to North Korea's recent missile tests.

The test launch was routine, Air Force Global Strike Command spokesman Joe Thomas told AFP, and was not intended to send a message to North Korea.

The missile, the Minuteman III, launched from Vandenberg Air Force base Wednesday morning and traveled about 4,200 miles.

Linda Frost, a spokeswoman for strike command, said the missile is tested about four times a year.

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"These test launches verify the accuracy and reliability of the ICBM weapon system, providing valuable data to ensure a continued safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent," the strike command said in a statement.

"The ICBM test launch program demonstrates the operational capability of the Minuteman III and ensures the United States’ ability to maintain a strong, credible nuclear deterrent as a key element of US national security and the security of US allies and partners," it added.