China claims to have intercepted ballistic missile in flight

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The Chinese military has successfully intercepted a ballistic missile in flight, China’s Ministry of Defense claimed in a late Sunday statement.

A Chinese statement clarified that the test was defensive in nature and was not intended as a threat to any nation, according to the Washington Times.

The development comes as China is growing increasingly aggressive toward Taiwan, an independent island nation that China has long claimed as its own territory.

China has sent numerous bomber and fighter-jet flights into Taiwan’s air-defense zone in recent months. While the US maintains friendly relations with Taiwan, it has not expressly vowed to intervene should China choose to invade the country.

US MILITARY WILL DEFEND TAIWAN ‘IF IT COMES TO THAT,’ BIDEN SAYS

Sens.  Lindsey Graham, Bob Menendez, Richard Burr, Rob Portman and Ben Sasse, and Rep.  Ronny Jackson were greeted on their arrival to Taiwan, Thursday, April 14, 2022.

Sens. Lindsey Graham, Bob Menendez, Richard Burr, Rob Portman and Ben Sasse, and Rep. Ronny Jackson were greeted on their arrival to Taiwan, Thursday, April 14, 2022.
(Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan)

The US has maintained a complicated relationship with Taiwan, being its largest international supporter and arms supplier while not holding formal diplomatic ties. The US continues to abide by the Taiwan Relations Act, which acknowledges, but does not endorse, China’s claim to own the island.

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President Joe Biden has muddied the waters on that issue several times, however, with the White House having to repeatedly clarify his promises of support for Taiwan.

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen announced that the country’s military had reached a “cooperation” deal with the US National Guard on May 31. Tsai made the announcement during a visit from US Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill.

“The US Department of Defense is now proactively planning cooperation between the US National Guard and Taiwan’s defense forces,” Tsai said at the time. “We look forward to closer and deeper Taiwan-US cooperation on matters of regional security.”

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Direct cooperation between the US and Taiwanese militaries would be only the latest major display of unity between the two governments. Six US Congressmen traveled to the island in April, the largest and highest-level US delegation to ever visit the island.

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