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China Fires Off Missile In Possible 'Warning' To US, South Korea

13 Mai 2017

China's defense ministry says the military has successfully test-fired a new type of missile into waters near the Korean Peninsula. In order to de-escalate tensions surrounding the Korean peninsula, Beijing has come up with an initiative to call on North Korea to refrain from carrying out further missile and nuclear tests in exchange for the US and South Korea suspending their military exercises in the region. However, it is possible that the test may also have been planned well in advance.

Beijing opposes the system, known by its acronym, THAAD, because its radars are allegedly capable of peering deep into China, allowing the US and its allies to better detect rocket launches and aircraft movements.

China's Defense Ministry said on Tuesday that the test of the guided missiles was conducted "in recent days" in the northeastern Bohai Sea.

The test comes after China had warned both the US and South Korea that the installation of the THAAD anti-ballistic missile system would only heighten tensions and worries of a nuclear war in the region.

The drills in Bohai come as Chinese officials earlier warned that they would test new weapons in the area, apparently seeking to remind the US and South Korea that the deployment of THAAD would not go unnoticed.

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China has pressured South Korea both economically and politically to abandon THAAD, which Beijing argues poses a threat to China's national security.

Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Wednesday that China had no intention of softening its opposition.

"To judge from the missile remains disclosed by media, it was a DF-26 that was tested recently, also known as the "aircraft carrier killer" missile", Song Zhongping, a military expert who used to serve in the PLA Rocket (Missile) Force, told state-run Global Times.

This proposal is supported by Russian Federation, which has urged Washington and Seoul to reconsider their decision to station THAAD on the peninsula, saying it serves as a "destabilizing factor" that undermines the security and deterrent capacity of adjacent states, such as China, and could tip the existing military balance in the tense region.

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.