China is to build a naval missile cruiser capable of shooting down any aircraft that enters its airspace in a move that could lead to a confrontation with rival US ally North Korea.
The move follows Beijing’s declaration of an air defence zone in the South China Sea, where China has claimed almost all of the South and East China seas.
The People’s Liberation Army Navy said on Wednesday it had completed a series of trials of an “anti-aircraft missile cruiser” capable of firing a nuclear-capable cruise missile.
The test launch of the “Shanghai-class” ballistic missile destroyer was conducted at a military base near Shanghai, the People’s Daily said in a commentary.
It said the prototype was “operating successfully”, without elaborating.
China has long sought to build its navy into a formidable force capable of challenging the US, which has a formidable military.