China is apparently developing missiles — including a new system that would repel long-range weapons — for a future conflict with the United States, according to news reports.
"We will pay close attention to relevant actions of the U.S. and [South Korea] and will take necessary measures to maintain national strategic security as well as regional strategic equilibrium," Chinese Defense Ministry Sr. Col. Yang Yujun said last month in a report published Wednesday by The National Interest.
Yang's comment marked the first admission by Chinese defense officials that the secretive anti-missile system was being developed.
The system is a "revolutionary hypersonic strike vehicle that skims the upper atmosphere and can maneuver in a bid to defeat U.S. strategic defenses," the National Interest reports.
The question to Yang came after Chinese state media publicized a six-year-old flight test and intercept of a Chinese version of the U.S. ground-based, mid-course anti-missile defense system.
"To develop suitable capabilities of missile defense is necessary for China to maintain national security and improve defense capabilities," he said on July 28, according to the National Interest.