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

BEIJING (AFP, Reuters) - China has recently tested a new type of guided missile in a north-eastern sea near the Korean peninsula, the defence ministry said Tuesday (May 9), hours after South Korean elections and amid regional tensions.  

The test in the Bohai Sea was conducted to “raise the operational capability of the armed forces and effectively respond to threats to national security,” the ministry said in a brief statement, which did not specify when the missile was launched.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is overseeing a sweeping modernisation of the country's armed forces, with an emphasis on technological innovation and naval capability as it seeks to project greater power in the disputed South China Sea.

While no other country has claims in the busy Bohai Sea, the drills come amid heightened tension on the Korean peninsula, including Chinese anger at the deployment of the U.S. anti-missile defence system Thaad in South Korea last month.

At a regular news briefing last month, China's defence ministry responded to questions about the Thaad deployment by foreshadowing the weapons tests, saying they were necessary to safeguard its national security.