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The Office of the Secretary of Defense has delayed the scheduled test of a Minuteman III ICBM from Vandenberg AFB, Calif., in an attempt to ratchet down tensions between the United States and North Korea, a Pentagon spokesman told the Daily Report on Monday. The Pentagon leadership believes that an ICBM test this week might be "misconstrued by some as suggesting that we were intending to exacerbate the current crisis with North Korea," said this official. "We wanted to avoid that misperception or manipulation," he added. The Air Force conducts several of these Minuteman III operational tests each year—shooting a missile from Vandy westward over the Pacific Ocean towards the Kwajalein Atoll—to validate the accuracy and reliability of the missile, one leg of the US strategic nuclear deterrent. When a new date is determined for the postponed test, the Defense Department will make an announcement, said the spokesman on April 8. US officials have stressed that US and South Korean activities in recent weeks in response to North Korea's bellicose rhetoric have been defensive in nature, but meant to show strength, in order to prevent North Korean aggression. (Includes AFPS report by Claudette Roulo.)