17:21 GMT25 September 2020
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    When the US tested its THAAD missile defense system, using it to shoot down a ballistic missile earlier this week, a Chinese surveillance vessel may have been lurking nearby, according to a new report.

    The ship apparently arrived off the coast of Alaska within the last few days, but that may only be when it was noticed. CNBC reports that it’s unusual for China to send ships to the area.

    US Navy Captain Scott Miller told CNN the ship is probably a “communications” or “intelligence” vessel.

    Beijing is assuredly interested in how THAAD works. Chinese leaders have strongly opposed Washington’s placement of THAAD batteries in South Korea, as while Washington claims the anti-missile defense system exists solely to combat the North Korean threat, Beijing argues the weapons system’s radar allows US commanders to snoop on Chinese missile testing activity.

    On July 11, the US Missile Defense Agency said THAAD successfully downed an incoming intermediate range ballistic missile fired by a US Air Force plane flying near Hawaii. 


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    Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), US Missile Defense Agency (MDA), Alaska, South Korea
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