China says it tested new missile in north-eastern Bohai Sea

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The missile test was carried amid China's vociferous protests over THAAD interceptor missiles in South Korea, whose powerful radars could see through most of part of China including its missile development programme.

The timing of the announcement coincides with the election of South Korea's new president Moon Jae-in and comes amid a continued dispute between Beijing and Washington over the deployment of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system on South Korean soil.

A statement by the Chinese defence ministry yesterday said that Chinese rocket forces tested a new type of missile in the Bohai Sea.

The test in the Bohai Sea was to 'raise the operational capability of the armed forces and effectively respond to threats to national security, ' the Defense Ministry said.

The statement did not say when the launch took place, only that it happened "recently".

Kim Jong-un has made it clear that his ultimate ambition is to develop a missile system capable of delivering a nuclear warhead on to the mainland United States.

Although the missile test may have been scheduled in advance, some experts suspect that the test, of what is believed to be a DF-26 intermediate-range ballistic missile, was intended as a warning.

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The Red Army launched a new type of missile in the sea just off the crowded Korean peninsula.

A U.S. defense official said, however, that the system had only "reached initial intercept capability".

China is strongly against the THAAD installation in South Korea due to how its perceived as a threat to their naval forces.

During the presidential election campaign, the planned installation of the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence (Thaad) system - an anti-ballistic missile system - on a golf course in Seongju, 300km southeast of Seoul, became a factor because the eventual victor, Moon Jae-in, said the decision was taken too hastily.

North Korea has successfully placed two surveillance satellites into orbit around Earth, in 2012 and 2016; however, it is not known whether they are functional.

In February, Beijing announced the suspension of coal imports from the North for the rest of the year, a crucial foreign currency earner for the authorities.