China’s Defense Ministry announced Tuesday that the country’s rocket force, which oversees its ballistic missile force, conducted live-fire drills and weapons tests “in recent days,” according to a brief statement on its website.
The announcement, which was posted to the site just hours before official results were due in South Korea’s presidential election, came amid surging tensions on the Korean Peninsula over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.
The statement said the People’s Liberation Army’s Rocket Force had conducted the drills and tests in the Bohai Sea, near the Korean Peninsula. The operations were designed to raise operational capability “to effectively deal with national security threats,” the statement added. No other details were given.
China has voiced its anger over the deployment of the U.S.-made Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system in South Korea last month. Intended to shoot down incoming North Korean missiles, Beijing has called the system a threat to its own national security.
A spokesman for China’s Defense Ministry had telegraphed the exercises two weeks ago during a monthly news conference, saying that China resolutely opposed the deployment of the THAAD system and pledging to continue “real combat-oriented military training and drills” and “operational tests of new equipment and weapons.”