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China conducts missile intercept tests days after launching 3rd aircraft carrier

Chinese defense ministry says trials 'defensive in nature'

Chinese DF-5B ballistic missile.

Chinese DF-5B ballistic missile. (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Anti-missile defense tests were carried out on Sunday (June 19), China’s defense ministry announced on Monday (June 20).

The ministry said the tests were mid-range, land-based missile interceptions that were “defensive in nature” and “not targeted against any country.”

China has performed similar tests before; most recently in February 2021, according to The Guardian. The authoritarian nation has been expanding its missile research and development to all missile types, including ones that can eliminate satellites and ones armed with nuclear warheads, it reported.

Beijing says such technology is necessary for national defense and security, The Guardian said.

Sunday’s missile test comes just three days after China launched its third and most powerful aircraft carrier to date, the Fujian, on June 17. The Fujian is China’s first domestically-built aircraft carrier, which is equipped with advanced electromagnetic catapults and has a full-load displacement of more than 80,000 tonnes, per the China defense ministry.

The advanced catapult systems, which are also used by the U.S.’ newest carriers, will allow China to launch a larger number and variety of aircraft carrying increased weapon loads, according to CNN. The Fujian is now scheduled for mooring tests and sea trials before it is officially handed over to the Chinese navy.