China carried out a test of “ground-based midcourse anti-missile intercept technology” that “achieved its expected purpose”, the defence ministry in Beijing has said, describing it as defensive and not aimed at any country.
Beijing has tested missile interceptors before; the most recent previous public announcement of a test was in February 2021, and before that in 2018. State media has said China has conducted anti-missile system tests since at least 2010.
China has been ramping up research into all sorts of missiles, from those that can destroy satellites in space to advanced nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles, as part of a modernisation overseen by President Xi Jinping.
China, along with its ally Russia, has repeatedly expressed opposition to the US deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system in South Korea.
China argued the equipment’s powerful radar could penetrate into its territory. China and Russia have also held simulated anti-missile drills.
China has given few details about its own missile programmes, aside from occasional brief statements by the defence ministry or in state media.
In 2016, the defence ministry confirmed it was pressing ahead with anti-missile system tests after pictures appeared on state television.
Beijing says such technology is needed for national defence and security.