BEIJING China carried out a land-based missile interception test that “achieved its expected purpose”, its defence ministry announced late on Sunday amid the ongoing military standoff along the disputed land border with India to the northwest of the country and rising tension with Taiwan off its southeastern coast.
The test details of the anti-ballistic missile (ABM) including the location where it was carried out remains shrouded in mystery. ABMs are typically meant to provide an umbrella of security against missile attacks in case of a war by intercepting incoming ones including intercontinental ballistic missiles.
The Chinese defence ministry said that the “ground-based mid-course anti-missile intercept technology” test had been carried out within the country’s territory, the defence ministry said in a brief statement.
The test was conducted at night, the statement said. “The test reached its expected goals,” the ministry said, adding: “This test was defensive and not aimed at any country.”
China had carried out the test of a similar missile in February, 2021.
The latest test brings the tally of publicly announced Chinese land-based ABM technical tests to six.
“According to media reports and official statements, other known ABM tests were carried out by China in 2010, 2013, 2014, 2018 and 2021. It was not revealed in which interception phase the test in 2014 was carried out, while all other five were carried out in the mid-course phase,” the state-run tabloid, Global Times reported on Monday.
Military expert Song Zhongping told the tabloid that China had mastered the mid-course ABM system, and conducting the latest test shows that the system is becoming mature.
China’s land-based conventional missile capabilities have developed significantly over the last several years.
“According to the US Department of Defence (DoD), China’s missile forces in 2000 ‘were generally of short range and modest accuracy.’
In the years since then, China has developed the world’s “largest and most diverse’ arsenal of ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles”, a 2020 report by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies’s (CSIS) ChinaPower which tracks the country’s development said.