China tests ground-based missile defence system
China said on 6 February that it successfully conducted a test of a ground-based missile defence system amid rising tensions on the Korean peninsula.
Concern over a potential conflict with nuclear-armed North Korea is growing following a series of bellicose statements between Washington and Pyongyang.
According to China’s Ministry of Defence (MoD), the test of the mid-range missile system conducted on 5 February ‘achieved its anticipated goal.’
The MoD added: ‘This test was defensive. It does not target any country.’
The US has deployed a missile defence system, known as THAAD, in South Korea to guard against threats from North Korea, despite objections from Beijing, which considers the installation a threat to its own security.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis have been pushing a diplomatic strategy to convince North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un to come to the table and negotiate away his nuclear weapons.
But other senior figures in the Trump Administration have reportedly endorsed the idea of a ‘bloody nose’ strike to damage Kim's nuclear sector and show the US means business, hopefully without provoking a wider war.
Trump's pick for ambassador to South Korea, Victor Cha, was dropped after refusing to endorse the idea.
During last week's State of the Union address, Trump warned that Pyongyang's weapons programme ‘could very soon threaten our homeland.’