China Tests Anti-Missile Technology after US Sells Taiwan Missiles

By Reuters | The Christian Science Monitor, January 12, 2010 | Go to article overview

China Tests Anti-Missile Technology after US Sells Taiwan Missiles


Reuters, The Christian Science Monitor


China tested emerging military technology that targets missiles mid-air. The test comes after China's public discontent over the US selling missiles to Taiwan last week.

China successfully tested emerging military technology aimed at destroying missiles in mid-air, the government said, while state media warned ties with Washington would be hurt by U.S. missile sales to Taiwan.

China claims Taiwan is an illegitimate breakaway from mainland rule and sees the U.S. arms sales an intrusion into a domestic dispute.

The brief report on the "ground-based mid-course missile interception technology" from China's state-run Xinhua news agency gave few details, and did not specify whether any missile or object had been destroyed in the test, staged on Chinese soil.

"The test has achieved the expected objective," said the report, without describing that objective.

"The test is defensive in nature and is not targeted at any country," it quoted the Chinese Foreign Ministry as saying.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu gave few clues about the test, but she told a news briefing it had not left fragments in space or created risks for orbiting vessels.

This latest flexing of China's maturing military hardware came after the United States cleared a sale of Patriot air defense missiles to Taiwan last week, drawing condemnation from Beijing.

China's ire over the arms sales shows no sign of escalating into military confrontation or diplomatic upheaval. But Beijing's growing assertiveness over the issue could magnify strains with Washington while both sides grapple with economic tensions and the U.S. seeks Chinese backing on Iran and other disputes.

"China feels the United States on the one hand wants all kinds of cooperation, but on the other hand keeps selling weapons to Taiwan, and this discrepancy is expanding," said Zhu Feng, a professor of international relations at Peking University.

"There won't be any substantive reversal in relations over this," he added. "But China's self-confidence is growing and it feels these weapons sales to Taiwan are humiliating."

Missiles pointed at TaiwanThe Patriot "PAC-3" missiles can destroy missiles in mid-air, and could be used against the thousand or more offensive missiles that Taiwan says China has along its coast facing the island. …

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