The U.S. Defense Department elected to postpone a planned user trial of an ICBM in order to avoid exacerbating already high tensions with North Korea, an anonymous high-ranking defense insider informed the Associated Press on Saturday.
The test-firing of the Minuteman 3 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California has been pushed back from April to May. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Friday made the call to delay the project, which was not a part of ongoing U.S.-South Korean armed forces exercises taking place on the Korean Peninsula.
The defense source said the test was not delayed due to any mechanical issues with the silo-based Minuteman 3, which comprises the land-based leg of the U.S. nuclear triad.
The delay was "absolutely not" a response to North Korea's recent spate of threats, including warnings of nuclear strikes against South Korea and the United States, The Hill quoted a senior White House official as saying on Sunday.
"The onus is on North Korea to take the step back," Dan Pfeiffer, senior adviser to President Obama, told "Fox News Sunday."