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Here a problem, there a problem… seems every time you turn around, another brush fire has cropped up somewhere. Here’s an article from The Telegraph, a UK online newspaper about one of them:

China tests new technology to shoot down missiles in mid-air

By Peter Foster in Beijing
Published: 7:00AM GMT 12 Jan 2010

China has successfully tested a new technology designed to shoot down incoming missiles in mid-air, in a move that Chinese military experts claimed was a “breakthrough” for the country’s rapidly modernising armed forces. The announcement of the successful test, made by the state news agency Xinhua, comes after a week of diplomatic tensions over a US decision to sell advanced Patriot anti-missile systems to neighbouring Taiwan.

“China conducted a test on ground-based midcourse missile interception technology within its territory. The test has achieved the expected objective,” said the terse, three-sentence statement by Xinhua. “The test is defensive in nature and is not targeted at any country,” it added.

The decision to make the test public, itself unusual, comes after several days of strident complaints from China’s defence establishment over the US decision to allow a $3bn deal for 330 PAC-3 Patriot missiles to go ahead. The sale has angered the Chinese with one senior Chinese general calling for “counter-measures” against the US, including a temporary suspension of military-to-military contacts which both sides agreed to strengthen after President Obama’s visit to China last November.

Yang Chengjun, a senior Chinese military strategist for missile studies, told China’s state-run Global Times newspaper that the test ushered China into a “new phase” in terms of missile interception technologies.

The Pentagon said it had not received prior notification of the test and declined to see any link with arms sales to Taiwan. However it confirmed that the test had taken place and was seeking more information.

“We detected two geographically separated missile launch events with an exo-atmospheric collision also being observed by space-based sensors,” said Major Maureen Schumann, a Pentagon spokeswoman.

“We are requesting information from China regarding the purpose for conducting this interception as well as China’s intentions and plans to pursue future types of intercepts.”

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