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Chinese intercept missile in test

BEIJING — China announced that its military intercepted a missile in mid-flight Monday in a test of new technology that comes amid heightened tensions over Taiwan and increased willingness by the Asian giant to show off its advanced military capabilities.

The official Xinhua News Agency reported late Monday that "ground-based midcourse missile interception technology" was tested within Chinese territory.

"The test has achieved the expected objective," the three-sentence report said. "The test is defensive in nature and is not targeted at any country."

The report follows complaints in recent days by Beijing over the sale by the United States of weaponry to Taiwan, including PAC-3 air defense missiles. These sales are driven by threats from China to bring the island under its control, backed up by an estimated 1,300 ballistic missiles positioned along the Taiwan Strait.

Communist-ruled China split with Taiwan amid civil war in 1949 and continues to regard the self-governing democracy as part of its territory. Beijing has warned of a disruption in ties with Washington if the sale goes ahead but has not said what specific actions it would take.

In Washington, the U.S. Defense Department said that it had no notice before the Chinese test but that the United States does not consider it related to U.S. arms sales to Taiwan.

Xinhua did not further identify the system tested, although China is believed to be pursuing a number of programs developed from antiaircraft systems aimed at shooting down stealth aircraft.

Staging a successful test "shows that their technology is maturing," said Hans Kristensen, an expert on the Chinese military with the Federation of American Scientists.

Chinese intercept missile in test 01/11/10 [Last modified: Monday, January 11, 2010 9:52pm]
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