China has admitted it tested an inter-continental ballistic missile by stating that "it is normal for China to execute scientific experiments within its territory, and these experiments are not aimed at any specific country nor target."
While not directly naming the type of missile, a statement released by the Information Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of National Defense (MND) and posted on the state-owned Chinamil website had the title, “defence ministry responds to intercontinental missile test near South China Sea.”
The three line statement debunked western media reports as to the location of the test stating that the “the so-called test location reported by the media is pure conjecture.”
Western media outlets, quoting Pentagon officials have claimed that the missile launched was a DF-41 inter-continental ballistic missile capable of hitting targets in the U.S. mainland and naval bases in the Pacific with both conventional and nuclear warheads.
The missile test comes at a time when tensions over the South China Sea are heating up. One of China’s most prominent military officials, Gen. Fan Changlong, paid a visit to the Spratly Islands at roughly the same time Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter flew over to the region.
The U.S. is showing solidarity with countries such as Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines which are in dispute with China over the Spratly and other Islands ownership and has been conducting both unilateral and joint patrols in the South China Sea.