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China conducts missile interceptor test, calls launch 'success'

China’s military said Thursday that a test of a mid-range missile defense system met its objectives as tensions persist with the United States and Taiwan. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI
China’s military said Thursday that a test of a mid-range missile defense system met its objectives as tensions persist with the United States and Taiwan. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 4 (UPI) -- China said it has "successfully" conducted the test of a land-based, mid-range missile interceptor within its territorial borders, claiming the test was not targeting other countries.

Beijing's ministry of national defense said on its homepage the test of the antiballistic missile reached the "desired objective," state tabloid Global Times reported late Thursday.

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The test is of a defensive nature and is not aimed at any country, the military said, according to Chinese network CGTN.

China's decision to disclose the test of a missile defense system, the fifth known test of a missile interceptor in the country, comes after the U.S. State Department said China should "cease its military, diplomatic and economic pressure against Taiwan, and instead engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan's democratically elected leadership."

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Chinese activity on disputed islands in the South China Sea has also been a source of military tensions between the two countries.

President Joe Biden called Chinese leader Xi Jinping a "thug" on the campaign trail and has not ruled out isolating and punishing China for human rights violations. Biden has yet to exchange a phone call with Xi.

Beijing could be sending a message to Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. Tsai, a vocal critic of China's ruling Communist Party, has said she opposes China's "aggressive" tactics.

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Last week, China sent four fighter jets, eight bombers and one anti-submarine aircraft into Taiwan's air defense zone, according to Taiwan's military.

Chinese military analyst Song Zhongping told the Global Times China has "already mastered" the mid-range anti-ballistic missile system. The test conducted Thursday shows China's system is "becoming mature," Song said, according to state media.

China has conducted known missile interceptor tests in 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2018, the Global Times reported.

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