China’s military has tested a land-based missile interception system, the Ministry of National Defense of the People’s Republic of China said on Sunday.
The Chinese military claimed to have achieved its expected goals, successfully targeting a ballistic missile in space. China also described the program as defensive, part of security measures, and not aimed at any country.
The ministry said in a brief statement on June 19 that the “ground-based midcourse anti-missile intercept technology” test had been carried out that night.
The nation has increased research into all sorts of missiles as part of an ambitious military modernization plan overseen by President Xi Jinping.
China’s plans reportedly include advanced nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles and missiles that can destroy satellites in space.
According to Chinese state media, the missile defense test was a “land-based, mid-course interception test,” including the use of a target missile that was tracked by early warning systems, followed by launching an interceptor that either blew up near the target or crashed into it at high speed.
The report said China is creating a “kinetic kill” missile interceptor that will be the high-altitude version of a multi-tiered missile defense system. By contrast, on March 13, the new U.S. Space Force announced a single weapon system: an electronic jammer that can scramble satellite feeds.
The test was China’s sixth missile defense test. China has previously conducted anti-missile system tests, the most recent of which was announced in February 2021. Chinese state media has said the country has tested missile interceptors since 2010.
China and Russia have often voiced opposition to the U.S. deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system in South Korea. The Chinese have claimed that THAAD endangers Beijing’s missile deterrence capability. China and Russia have also jointly held mock anti-missile drills.
China has given little information about its own missile systems, except for occasional short statements from the defense ministry or state media.