China’s Ministry of National Defence has announced that it successfully tested an anti-ballistic missile (ABM) interceptor as part of its efforts to strengthen its defence capabilities.

This is the sixth land-based, anti-ballistic missile test publicly announced by China, reported state-run tabloid Global Times.

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The mid-course missile test held within the country’s borders was for defensive purposes and not a move against any country, reported Reuters, citing a statement from the Ministry of National Defence.

The ministry did not disclose further specifications about the missile system.

Anti-ballistic missiles are equipped with projectiles to protect a country from missile attacks, including intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Nuclear Policy Program senior fellow Tong Zhao was quoted by CNN as saying : “China is planning to build a multi-layered missile defence system which consists of several components.”

China has so far developed HQ9 and HQ19 defence systems to counter short and medium-range missiles, Zhao added.  

The test of the ground-based, mid-course anti-missile interception technology was carried out on Sunday night.

The ministry added: “The test reached its expected goals.” 

The known ABM tests were carried out by the country in 2010, 2013, 2014, 2018, and 2021.

While five tests were conducted in mid-course phase, it is not known in which interception phase the test was conducted in 2014.

According to media reports, all the tests were carried out successfully.

The latest test by China follows a recent series of missile tests by North Korea, including short-range ballistic missiles and a possible ICBM.

In 2020, the US estimated that China has a stockpile of 200 nuclear warheads, which could reach at least 400 by 2030.