China Successfully Conducts Anti-Missile Test Amid Tensions Over North Korea's Nuclear Weapons and Missiles Program

Members of a military honour guard rehearse ahead of a welcome ceremony for British Prime Minister Theresa May in Beijing's Great Hall of the People on January 31, 2018. China successfully conducted an anti-missile test on Monday. Getty

China has successfully conducted another anti-missile test, amid rising tensions over North Korea's nuclear weapons program and Beijing's own militarization of the South China Sea.

On Tuesday, the Defense Ministry said in a brief statement the "ground-based midcourse anti-missile intercept technology" had been tested on Monday within China's borders.

"The test reached its expected goals," the ministry said. "This test was defensive and not aimed at any country."

Beijing has been ramping up research into all sorts of missiles, from those which can destroy satellites in space to advanced nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles, as part of a modernization scheme overseen by President Xi Jinping.

While China, along with its ally Russia, have repeatedly expressed opposition to the U.S. deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system in South Korea, it has not stopped Chinese research into such technology.

China and Russia have also held simulated anti-missile drills, most recently last year.

China fears the THAAD system, with its powerful radar, can look deep into Chinese territory and threaten its own security. It also says it will do nothing to help ease tensions with North Korea over Pyongyang's missile and nuclear programs.

South Korea and the United States say the THAAD deployment is simply designed to deter North Korean missile attacks.

China has given few details about its own missile programs, aside from occasional brief statements by the Defense Ministry or in state media.

In 2016, the Defense Ministry confirmed it was pressing ahead with anti-missile system tests after pictures appeared on state television.

State media says China has been conducting anti-missile system tests since at least 2010, when the first ground-based "mid-course" missile interception test was launched. It says such technology is needed for its own national defense and security.

Earlier this week, aerial photographs by showed the extent of China's militarization of the South China Sea.