China successfully tests ground-based medium-course anti-ballistic missiles.

China has successfully conducted the seventh public test of land-based medium-course anti-ballistic missiles since 2010, showing proficiency in related technologies and bolstering its deterrence against nuclear threats.

China and its advances in missiles

Last Friday, China conducted a mid-course anti-ballistic missile (ABM) interception ground test within its borders, managing to hit the intended targets. China has conducted six similar tests in 2010, 2013, 2014, 2018, 2021, and 2022. China’s Ministry of National Defense stated that the test is defensive in nature and not directed against any specific country.

Medium-course interception typically focuses on intermediate-range or intercontinental ballistic missiles, which may be equipped with nuclear warheads. The intermediate phase refers to the moment when a missile passes through the outer atmosphere after being propelled by a booster rocket in the initial phase.

Technical challenges of interception

Although mid-course ABM interception is technically difficult due to the missile’s high speed and altitude, it is more viable than early-phase interception in hostile territory. Interception in the terminal phase, when the missile is diving toward its target, is too risky, especially in a multi-missile saturation attack.

Successful ABM tests demonstrate that China credibly masters the related technologies and can defend itself during a first attack.

China’s nuclear policy

China follows a policy of not being the first to use nuclear weapons. Therefore, the country must be able to intercept hostile nuclear weapons to the extent possible and withstand early strikes in order to carry out counterattacks.

Deterrence against nuclear threats

The combination of China’s ABM systems, underground nuclear defense facilities, and ever-modernizing nuclear arsenal makes for a credible deterrent against nuclear threats amid the current volatile global security situation.

In summary

China has successfully conducted a new test of ground-based medium-course anti-ballistic missiles, demonstrating its mastery of related technologies and strengthening its deterrence against nuclear threats.

The Asian nation pledges not to be the first to use nuclear weapons and continues to develop defense systems to protect itself in a global context of insecurity.