BEIJING, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- China said it successfully tested a "land-based mid-course missile interception" within its territory, the second such test in two years, but gave no details.
The official Xinhua News Agency, quoting an official with the Defense Ministry's information bureau, said the test was conducted Sunday and that it "has reached the preset goal."
A similar interception test was conducted in January of 2010, the report said.
Xinhua quoted weapons system experts as saying the program could build a shield for China's air defense by intercepting incoming warheads including ballistic missiles in space.
Separately, in a commentary, the news agency said such tests involving highly complicated technologies for detecting, tracking and destroying a ballistic missile flying in the outer space have only been tried before by the United States and Japan.
"The success in the anti-missile test, together with a string of other military equipment progress including the sail of China's first aircraft carrier and the test flight of a giant air freighter, has demonstrated the country's fast-growing ability to defend its own national security and deter any possible threats," the commentary said.
The report said although some in the international community would speculate that such moves offer proof of the China threat theory, Beijing has maintained these military advancements are purely defensive in nature, and has no specific targets.
"The speedy disclosure to the public of such an important move has also testified to the country's increasing transparency in military affairs," Xinhua said, adding "a militarily stronger China will not abandon its determination to promote economic growth through the path of peaceful development ... ."