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China conducts missile defence test


China carried out the test on Monday. (Xinuha Photo)

BEIJING (AFP): China has successfully intercepted a missile in mid-flight, state media said on Tuesday, in a test of its advanced air defence capabilities amid tensions over US arms sales to Taiwan.

“China conducted a test on ground-based midcourse missile interception technology within its territory. The test has achieved the expected objective,” Xinhua news agency said of Monday’s test.

“The test is defensive in nature and is not targeted at any country,” it added.

The news comes shortly after a US official in Taipei said Pentagon had approved the sale of Patriot missile equipment to Taiwan as part of a package passed by Congress more than a year ago.

Beijing – which considers Taiwan part of its territory and has vowed to take the island back, by force if necessary – has repeatedly voiced its protest over the sales and urged Washington to cancel the deal.

China's defence ministry had warned at the weekend that it reserved the right to take unspecified action if Washington followed through with the sale, which it called a “severe obstacle” to China-US military ties.

The United States is the leading arms supplier to Taiwan, even though it switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979.

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