China on Tuesday announced the success of a mid-course land-based missile interception test, which experts believe shows the maturity of the means and capability in intercepting enemy missiles.
The Ministry of National Defense said the interception technology was tested on Monday within China's territory and achieved its preset goal.
The test is defensive in nature and does not target any country, the ministry said.
The announcement came after luminous clouds were spotted in Turpan, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on Friday, of which pictures of it were spread online.
"The mid-course of the long-range ballistic missile is located in the outer atmosphere, where the interception could reduce damage to the target on our side," Yang Chengjun, a Chinese missile expert and quantum defense scientist, told the Global Times on Tuesday. "The higher the interception is made, the smaller the damage to us would be."
This is the Chinese military's third public announcement of a successful test of the mid-course land-based missile interception technology. The previous two were in January 2010 and January 2013.
The US and Japan are the other countries which have conducted a similar test.
Yang said that this mid-course land-based missile interception test was normal and part of a schedule.
Though every test has a different purpose, "three successful mid-course interception tests show that China's technology has matured," Yang said.
Yang noted that the successful test does not mean China should be overconfident, as a test is far from actual combat. "In actual combat, much remains unknown."