China Claims It Intercepted A Missile In Flight

( China’s Ministry of Defense claimed on Sunday that its military had successfully intercepted a ballistic missile in flight as part of the country’s efforts to enhance its defensive capabilities.

According to the ministry’s statement, the missile intercepted was a land-based, mid-range ballistic missile fired within China’s borders. The ministry stressed that the anti-ballistic missile system test was defensive in nature and not intended as a threat to any nation.

Anti-ballistic missile systems are designed to shield a country from incoming missile attacks by intercepting and destroying them in mid-flight.

Sunday’s test was China’s sixth known land-based anti-ballistic missile test since the country began conducting them in 2010. The last anti-ballistic missile test conducted in China was in February 2021.

It is not clear what type of anti-ballistic system China tested on Sunday as the Ministry of Defense did not release any further specific information.

However, according to Tong Zhao, a senior fellow in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, gauging by the size of the closed airspace, the system test is likely similar to the American Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD.

In 2016, South Korea announced it would be deploying the THAAD system, sparking a year-long diplomatic feud with Beijing. China argued that a South Korean missile defense system would jeopardize China’s national security.

THAAD is designed for shooting down short, medium, and intermediate ballistic missiles. It is used by the United States to protect military units stationed in places like Hawaii and Guam.

So far, China has developed the HQ9 and HQ19 missile defense systems which are designed to intercept short-range and medium-range missiles respectively. Beijing has not publicly announced the development of an anti-missile system capable of intercepting both long-range and intercontinental ballistic missiles.

In May, China blasted the United States for deploying medium-range ballistic missiles in the Asia-Pacific region, arguing that their placement had a “gravely negative impact” on international arms control.