The U.S. State Department said Thursday it has obtained satellite images and video footage of an apparent missile launch from an area in northeastern China, in the first indication that the country is using ballistic missiles to attack U.N. facilities.
China has repeatedly denied U.n. and U.K. accusations that it is using missiles to target countries in the South China Sea.
State Secretary Wendy Sherman said Thursday that it was “not credible” that China is using military force in the region.
“The images we have, they don’t paint a complete picture,” Sherman said.
“I would not call them full coverage.
We have not seen them in the context of an actual deployment.”
The U.k. military said the imagery could be of a launch vehicle, not a missile.
The U,a.S., and china have been locked in a tit-for-tat war over the South and East China Seas, where China has conducted air- and missile-defense tests and conducted several large-scale exercises in recent months.
The Chinese military has said it is preparing for a possible U.NS. resolution that could limit its military activities in the contested waters, which are also claimed by both China and Vietnam.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said the region is a “hotspot” where “the Chinese are testing and experimenting” and that China has deployed missiles in international waters.
“We are not sure whether it is a test of the system or a test,” Sherman told reporters at a briefing.
“This is an area that has been a very hot spot for China and is also where we see them test missile-firing systems.”
China’s defense ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.