MOSCOW, April 7 (RIA Novosti) - The United States has delayed an intercontinental ballistic missile test planned for next week, media reported.
The test of the Minuteman 3, scheduled to be carried out in California, was postponed, possibly until some time in May, out of concerns that North Korea might misinterpret it, the BBC reported Sunday citing a senior US defense official.
The United States would like to “avoid any misperception or miscalculation” that the test could cause, the unnamed official said as quoted by the British broadcaster.
North Korea reportedly moved two missiles capable of striking the US Pacific territory of Guam onto mobile launch pads Friday, and advised foreign embassies to consider pulling staff out of Pyongyang.
At a March plenary meeting of the North Korean Workers’ Party’s Central Committee, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said the country would adopt relevant laws to maintain its nuclear deterrence forces. He also said the country would simultaneously build up its nuclear forces and develop its economy.
On Wednesday, the North Korean army said it had received approval to launch a “merciless” attack on the United States, including possible nuclear strikes.
The statement followed a pledge by Pyongyang on Tuesday to restart operations at its Yongbyon nuclear complex, including a uranium enrichment plant and a reactor.
Tensions began to rise on the Korean Peninsula after international sanctions were imposed on North Korea in response to a long-range rocket launch in December, which world powers condemned as a ballistic missile test. North Korea responded by carrying out a third nuclear test in February, which was followed by more sanctions.
North Korea has threatened pre-emptive nuclear strikes against the US mainland and US military bases in the region.
Some of the threats came as US and South Korean forces carried out annual joint military drills, including near the maritime border between the two Koreas. The United States responded by deploying F-22 Raptor stealth fighters to the region.
The six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear program involve North and South Koreas, the United States, China, Japan and Russia. The talks have been stalled since 2009.