(People’s Daily Online) 15:48, July 25, 2016
In response to the scheduled THAAD deployment in South Korea, Chinese state media has recently been reporting on China’s anti-missile tests and the nation’s missile defense system.
On July 24, China Central Television (CCTV) revealed for the first time video footage of China’s missile defense system tests in 2010 and 2013. In 2010, China tested an HQ-19 anti-ballistic missile interception system; in 2013, the tests focused on land-based, mid-course missile interception, according to news site guancha.cn.
On July 25, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Daily ran a front page story about Chen Deming, an expert on China’s missile defense system. According to the story, Chen has helped lead some 28 research teams at a military base in northwestern China, supporting 20 major scientific achievements and winning 13 patents. The story also revealed that there was an additional missile test in 2011.
“The public revelation about China’s mid-course missile defense system does not reveal optimism about the country’s perimeter situation. However, we have made real progress in our missile defense system, which is now more advanced than what has been shown on TV,” wrote Song Zhongping, a Beijing-based military expert, on his Weibo.
The U.S. and South Korea announced on July 13 that the two sides agreed to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Air Defense system, or THAAD, in Seongju County, some 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, by the end of 2017.
THAAD faced strong opposition from China. According to Lu Kang, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, its deployment “will seriously damage strategic balance in the region and harm the security interests of neighboring countries, including China. It goes against the efforts of maintaining peace on the Korean Peninsula.” Lu made this statement earlier in July, also noting that, “China will resolutely take whatever measures are necessary to safeguard its own interests.”
Although THAAD’s 200-kilometer missile interception range will not cover Seoul, its X-band radar can reach Chinese and Russian territories far beyond North Korea, Xinhua News Agency reported.