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China Responds to U.S. Arms Sales to Taiwan with Missile Interceptor Test

China conducted a test on ground-based midcourse missile interception technology within its territory. Via Xinhua.

China announced on Monday that it had successfully tested its first land-based missile defense system. The announcement also stated that the test was “defensive in nature and is not targeted at any country.” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu emphasized that the anti-missile test is in line with what she calls China’s ‘path of peaceful development’ and is not targeted at any country.

China's missile interception test Monday accorded with its defensive military strategy, said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu. Via Xinhua.

However, it is widely argued that the act was aimed at the United States, as it took place soon after the Pentagon approved the sale of missile equipment to Taiwan. Beijing has been vocal about its opposition to the sale, and urged the U.S. to cancel the deal, warning over the weekend that it had the right to take unspecified action if the sale occurred.

Officials in Washington have stated that no prior notification of the launch was given. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Monday played down friction between the United States and China, saying she thinks the countries have a “mature” enough relationship to be able to handle differences of opinion. China’s latest missile defense test came days after Washington finalized plans to deliver additional missile defense systems to Taiwan. The White House said it was simply fulfilling a deal that was negotiated during the Bush administration.

The test is defensive in nature and is not targeted at any country. Via Xinhua.

For more info, see NYTimes, ArmsControlWonk.

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