CHINA: China on Thursday tested its capability of knocking out an incoming missile during mid-flight and the defence ministry declared the exercise a success, making China the second country to develop the technology after the US.
This comes a day after the Biden administration approved the extension of a key nuclear arms control deal with Russia and vowed to engage Beijing on nuclear risk reduction and arms control, reported South China Morning Post (SCMP).
While the defence ministry said that the test did not target any particular country, Macau-based military affairs commentator Antony Wong Tong said that the anti-ballistic missile test was a message to the new resident of the White House - President Joe Biden.
"The US has been rapidly developing intermediate-range ballistic missiles after quitting the INF, which is a threat to China," Wong said.
He also mentioned that Taiwan was working on ballistic missiles that could reach in-land locations on the mainland, reported SCMP.
A source close to the Chinese military said: "But to be honest, China's midcourse anti-ballistic technology still can't knock down nuclear missiles from the United States and Russia, as there is still a gap between the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and the two nuclear giants."
The US in recent years has regarded China as a strategic competitor and criticised China for its rapid and opaque development of nuclear capabilities.
Charles Richard, head of US Strategic Command, has gone so far as to call a nuclear war with Beijing a "real possibility", according to SCMP.
The relations between the US and China have deteriorated sharply over the last year in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, China's efforts to curtail Hong Kong's autonomy, and the US-China trade war.