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China's Latest Missile Test: A Threat to US Satellites?

China last month conducted a test of a new missile capable of taking out US satellites as a part of Beijing’s growing arsenal in space warfare.

The test of a Dong Neng-3 exoatmospheric vehicle took place on October 30, and was conducted from the Korla Missile Test Complex in western China, according to two defense officials who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.

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The Chinese media reported on November 1 that the test was of a missile defense interceptor, but the defense officials said the missile is a direct-ascent type designed to destroy satellites.

US State Department and Pentagon officials declined to comment on the test to the paper.

A Chinese Embassy spokesman said: "I don't have detailed information about the missile test you mentioned."

"China advocates for the peaceful use of outer space, and opposes space weaponization or arms race in space,” the spokesman said in an email.

Chinese media site reported on November 1 regarding the unusual contrails near the city of Korla in Xinjiang province from the test, stating that they seemed to be signs of "a midcourse anti-missile test."

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Days later, on November 4, Hong Kong-based newspaper Ming Pao reported that a "final-phase missile interception test had been conducted in the upper atmosphere."

"The capability to intercept was one of the capabilities of the PRC Hongqi-19 missile, and may be employed to intercept high supersonic gliding targets on the offensive," reported the paper.

A forthcoming report by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission in Congress states that the Chinese tests of supposed anti-missile defense systems, such as the one in the new test, are indeed meant to shoot down satellites, according to the Free Beacon.

The recent DN-3 test is the eighth anti-satellite missile test China has conducted, according to the Congressional report.

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