The Chinese military has just successfully test-fired a new kind of missile near the Korean Peninsula. This announcement comes in the middle of Chinese anger over the deployment of a sophisticated US missile defense system in South Korea. However, it is possible that the test may also have been planned well in advance. A brief statement on the ministry’s website said the test took place recently in the Bohai Gulf and “achieved the intended result,” according to an Associated Press report. There is no more information on the type of missile. Meanwhile, the US Forces Korea on said the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) anti-missile system, which was deployed last week in South Korea, is “operational”, according to an IANS report. Xinhua news agency has cited the USFK as saying that the THAAD system has the ability to “intercept missiles” from North Korea and “defend” the South. In simple terms, China is worried that US’s radar system would be able to potentially detect Chinese missiles better, in the event of a future war.
Here is what we know about the missile and the US-Conflict that has been going on:
1. The Chinese missile has been fired into the waters of the Bohai Gulf, which lies just west of the Yellow Sea. It is the place that separates China from the Korean Peninsula. The conflict is that the US had delivered the THAAD to South Korea in March and is operational now. Meanwhile, these deployments highlight the region’s delicate diplomatic balance.
2. According to a report in Associated Press, China’s defense ministry had said in April that it would respond to the missile defense system’s deployment by continuing to test new types of weapons under conditions simulating actual combat. The report added that Beijing opposes the system, known by its acronym, THAAD, because its radars are allegedly capable of peering deep into China, allowing the U.S. and its allies to better detect rocket launches and aircraft movements. China’s defence ministry spokesman Yang Yujun had said earlier that they will conduct live-fire drills and test new weapons with an aim to safeguard its security in response to the THAAD roll-out, according to Chinese agency reports.
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3. The US military had recently announced that the THAAD anti-ballistic missile defense system in South Korea is operational. It said that it was designed to intercept incoming missiles from North Korea, Reuters reported. The US has said in a statement that the system is necessary to guard against North Korean missile threats and has called China’s concerns to be unfounded.
4. Meanwhile, Song Zhongping, an expert on military affairs and commentator for Hong Kong’s Phoenix TV, has speculated that the weapon that has been tested was likely a DF-26 intermediate range missile being developed to sink warships, including U.S. aircraft carriers. He added that the region is a preferred location for such tests because it is Chinese territorial waters.
5. A brief statement made by China’s defense ministry says that the tests of new missiles and weapons were carried out by the People’s Liberation Arm’s Rocket Force in recent days and were designed to “raise operational capability” of the armed forces to “effectively respond to threats” to national security. It said the test was designed to boost the military’s capacity to fight threats to national security.