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US tests second missile banned under terminated INF treaty

The United States conducts a flight test of a ground-launched cruise missile at San Nicolas Island, California in August 2019. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE)(Photo courtesy of the U.S. Defense Department)(Kyodo)

WASHINGTON (Kyodo) -- The United States on Thursday tested a second type of missile which was previously banned under a now-ended Cold War-era nuclear arms control treaty agreed with Russia.

The U.S. military tested a ground-launched ballistic missile from an airbase in California in the morning, with the projectile landing in the open ocean after flying more than 500 kilometers, the Defense Department said in a press release.

In August, the United States conducted a test of a ground-launched cruise missile, the first since pulling out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty which came into effect in 1988.

The INF pact was signed in 1987 by U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. It sought the destruction of ground-based intermediate and shorter-range nuclear missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced the decision to withdraw his country from the INF treaty in February, saying that Russia has "violated" it by "covertly developing and fielding a prohibited missile system that poses a direct threat to our allies and troops abroad."

The expiration of the treaty came into effect six months later on Aug. 2.

After the latest test, the Defense Department said, "Data collected and lessons learned from this test will inform the Department of Defense's development of future intermediate-range capabilities."

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