China has declared its latest missile test was successful. The test involved a Chinese missile designed to intercept missiles or to destroy satellites. The missiles tested are land-based and were fired from within mainland China.
A Bloomberg report quotes Chinese People’s Liberation Army Col. Yue Gang (ret) saying this about the Chinese missile tests:
“The anti-satellite and missile defense technologies have steadily improved and can now manage to intercept missiles in flight, but there haven’t been operational military deployment yet.”
The latest Chinese tests were the third such tests in the past four years. China first demonstrated its ability to destroy a satellite in 2007, when it shot down an outdated weather satellite.
The Chinese missile tests were not expressly designed to test the People’s Liberation Army’s ability to shoot down U.S. missiles and satellites, but China has long trained its military with an eye towards what it calls an inevitable war with the United States. A related report in The Inquistr shares some of the details of this key Chinese military doctrine.
According to an AP report, the state-run Chinese media claims the Chinese missile tests were part of an air defense exercise that emphasized the missile’s ability to intercept other missiles, rather than to destroy satellites.
The Bloomberg report quotes Wang Ya’nan, the deputy editor of Aerospace Knowledge suggesting that the Chinese missile tests show that China’s missile technology is improving, but that they are still a long ways from having a truly comprehensive missile defense system:
“It’s true China wants to grasp anti-satellite techniques and enhance missile-defense capabilities, and it did conduct some successful tests, but it’s far from forming an operational anti-missile shield.”
While the United States and China are not currently involved in hostilities towards one another, China has recently been at odds with its neighbors, including key U.S. allies such as Japan. China is also suspected of allowing North Korea to conduct cyber warfare against U.S. allies from within its borders, as previously reported by The Inquisitr. Additionally, Col. Yue Gang’s comments raise the question of whether the Chinese missile tests should be viewed as purely defensive, since he expressly mentioned the missile’s satellite-killing potential.
The ability to destroy satellites could prove to be a game-changer in Chinese military ability. The United States and other countries depend on satellites for a wide variety of military and civilian purposes, ranging from intelligence gathering and communications to their own missile defense initiatives.
What do you think? Should the U.S. be concerned about Chinese missile tests that could lead to Chinese missiles being aimed at U.S. satellites?