Technology forms part of PLA’s air defences and announcement comes amid row over South Korea’s decision to deploy missile defence shield
By Liu Zhen
South China Morning Post
China says its third-generation surface-to-air missile system is now combat ready.
The announcement comes amid increasing tensions with the United States over China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea. Beijing has also protested against South Korea’s decision to deploy a missile shield on the Korean peninsula.
The People’s Liberation Army Air Force will use the home-developed, ground-based air defence and anti-missile system, spokesman Shen Jinke was quoted as saying on the Ministry of Defence website.
China’s army comprises 1.55 million soldiers, of which 850,000 are mobile troops, most of whom are under the army corps, while the rest are regional garrison troops. Pictured, the parade marking the 70th anniversary of the end of the second world war in Beijing. Photo: Xinhua
The system can cover from short- to long range and strike low- to high altitude targets, Shen said.
“Air defence and anti-missile systems are critical parts of the air force’s strategic capability,” Shen said.
The system consists of new missiles and launching systems, according to Shen.
The air force is “transforming from territorial air defence to being capable of both attack and defence,” Shen said.
“We will fully upgrade our strategic early warning, air strike, anti-aircraft and anti-missile, information countermeasure, air landing, strategic aerial delivery and comprehensive support,” he said.
Shen’s remarks follow China’s repeated protests against South Korea’s decision to deploy a US-developed anti-missile system, which Beijing says poses a serious threat to the nation’s security.
South Korea says the shield is needed to protect against North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme.
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