China held a successful missile intercept test, the country’s Defense Ministry said Sunday, adding it was not intended as a message to any country.
A “land-based mid-course missile interception test” took place within China’s territory on June 19 “and achieved the desired test objective,” the country said in a brief statement. “The test is defensive in nature and not targeted against any country.”
Beijing has been increasing its research and development of missiles that range in use, including those that can launch astronauts or parts into space, destroy already orbiting satellites or potentially carry nuclear weapons.
China, which says it has conducted anti-missile-system tests since at least 2010, last revealed it had tested a missile interceptor in February 2021 and in 2018.
The newest test comes as China has been ramping up pressure and threats against Taiwan, a self-governing island which Beijing claims as its territory. China in recent years has asserted the island could be annexed by military force if needed.
Such a conflict — which has increasingly come up as a hypothetical with Russia’s recent attack on Ukraine — would likely draw in the U.S., Taiwan’s main provider of weapons. Washington is also legally obligated to help Taiwan in some way should it be attacked.
In addition, China is constantly embroiled in territorial disputes over the South China Sea and has pushed back on the U.S. for sailing in international water it views as its own.