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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 September 2018

Beijing conducts successful missile defence test

Concern over a potential conflict with nuclear-armed North Korea is growing following a series of bellicose statements between Washington and Pyongyang

A Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) interceptor is launched during a successful test in this undated handout photo provided by the US Department of Defence, Missile Defence Agency. Reuters
A Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) interceptor is launched during a successful test in this undated handout photo provided by the US Department of Defence, Missile Defence Agency. Reuters

China said on Tuesday it successfully conducted a test of a ground-based missile defence system amid rising tensions in 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.

Monday's test of the mid-range missile system "achieved its anticipated goal", according to a brief statement by the Chinese defence ministry.

"This test was defensive. It does not target any country," it said.

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.

Read more: North Korea is helping develop Syria's chemical weapons programme, UN says

Secretary of state Rex Tillerson and defence 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 Mr Kim's nuclear sector and show the United Staes means business, hopefully without provoking a wider war.

US President Donald Trump's pick for ambassador to South Korea, Victor Cha, was dropped after refusing to endorse the idea, according to a recent article in the Washington Post.

During last week's State of the Union address, Mr Trump warned Pyongyang's weapons programme "could very soon threaten our homeland".

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