China’s military has tested a new type of missile in an area close to the Korean Peninsula, where tensions have been running high over Washington's deployment of a missile system in South Korea.
China’s Defense Ministry said on Tuesday that the test of the guided missiles was conducted "in recent days" in the northeastern Bohai Sea.
It said the tests, carried out by the People's Liberation Army's Rocket Force, were meant to increase the operational capability of the country’s military to better deal with major national security threats.
The statement would not elaborate on what those threats could be but China has become increasingly sensitive to the US deployment of the missile system, known as THAAD, in eastern South Korea, which came last month. China has said that the installation, which Washington and Seoul defend as a bid to counter rising missile threats from North Korea, would destabilize the region and lead to increased arms race.
The drills in Bohai came one day after the Chinese army showcased some of its modern weapons and military equipment in a drill conducted in the South China Sea. China claims the key waterway in its entirety but several other countries dispute the matter.
The United States has backed those claims against China. Chinese President Xi Jinping has repeatedly called on the country’s military to expedite efforts for the modernization of the armed forces and has emphasized technological innovation and naval capability to project greater power in the South China Sea.
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.