Sun, 26 Mar 2023

Seoul [South Korea], June 20 (ANI): Amid rising tensions with Taiwan, China successfully conducted an anti-ballistic missile test on Sunday night.

According to the country's Defense Ministry, it was part of ongoing military efforts to enhance the country's defensive capabilities, reported CNN.

This marks China's sixth known test of a land-based anti-ballistic missile, according to the state-run tabloid Global Times. The country has been conducting such tests since 2010, typically holding them every few years.

It was a land-based mid-course missile tested within China's borders, the ministry said in a brief statement, adding the test was defensive in nature and not targeted against any country.

Anti-ballistic missile systems are meant to shield a country from potential attacks by using projectiles to intercept incoming missiles, including intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

Before Sunday, China last launched an anti-ballistic missile test in February 2021, according to state media.

"China is planning to build a multilayered missile defense system which consists of several components," said Tong Zhao, senior fellow in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

These efforts aim to tackle short-range, medium-range and long-range missiles; so far, China has developed the HQ9 and HQ19 missile defense systems for the first two, and has not yet publicly announced the development of a system that can intercept longer-range and intercontinental ballistic missiles, Zhao said.

It's unclear which system was tested, as Chinese officials didn't release any further information, reported CNN.

But gauging by the size of the closed airspace, it could have been the medium-range HQ19, similar to the US' Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, or a different new mid-course system, Zhao said.

It looks similar to the "hit-to-kill" missiles the US has been using, he added, referring to technology that allows the interceptor to hit and completely destroy incoming threats.

The test comes amid rising tensions in the region, with a recent spate of missile tests from North Korea including short-range ballistic missiles and a presumed ICBM.

North Korea conducted its latest launch of an unknown projectile on Thursday, marking the 16th test of missiles this year.

The previous launch was conducted on May 7, when Pyongyang did not officially announce the missile launch and did not explain what kind of projectile it was. (ANI)

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