The Chinese military conducted exercises on Tuesday designed to simulate a “surprise attack” by long-range missiles. The drill was conducted near the Korean peninsula and pronounced a great success by Chinese media.
It is unclear, probably by design, whether the Chinese troops were shooting down simulated missiles launched by North Korea, or against North Korea.
“An anti-aircraft defense battalion carried out the exercises early on Tuesday, near the Bohai Sea, the innermost gulf of the Yellow Sea that separates China from the peninsula,” reports Reuters, quoting a Chinese military website.
The Chinese site went on to say the Chinese troops “shot down simulated low-flying missiles on their first attempt,” using certain unidentified weapons in that capacity for the first time. That description sounds more like the simulated intercept of American cruise missiles than North Korean ICBMs. The Chinese Defense Ministry offered no further comment when Reuters asked for details.
The China Military Online website offers some more details about the weapon systems tested, including shoulder-fired FN-6 and truck-launched HQ-6 surface-to-air missiles, which would not be very useful for shooting down North Korea’s long-range missiles.
The South China Morning Post is nevertheless convinced that the Chinese drill was intended as a warning to both North Korea and its adversaries about China’s military capabilities in the region.