China did not notify US before anti-missile test: Pentagon

WASHINGTON — China did not notify the United States in advance of a missile defence test and Washington has asked Beijing to clarify its intentions with the intercept weaponry, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

"We did not receive prior notification of the launch," said Pentagon spokeswoman Major Maureen Schumann.

"We detected two geographically separated missile launch events with a exo-atmospheric collision also being observed by space-based sensors," she said after China announced a successful test of its missile intercept system.

"The US is requesting information from China regarding the purpose for conducting this interception as well as China's intentions and plans to pursue future types of intercepts," she said.

Analysts described the test as a show of China's advanced air defence capabilities amid tensions over US arms sales to Taiwan.

US officials have repeatedly urged China to be more open about its military spending and programs to avoid possible misunderstandings.

China raised international concerns in 2007 when it destroyed one of its own orbiting satellites with a missile.

This week's test came soon after a US official in Taipei said the Pentagon had approved the sale of Patriot missile equipment to Taiwan as part of a package passed by Congress more than a year ago.

Beijing -- which considers Taiwan part of its territory and has vowed to take the island back, by force if necessary -- has repeatedly voiced its opposition to the sales and urged Washington to cancel the deal.

China had warned at the weekend that it reserved the right to take unspecified action if Washington followed through with the sale, which it called a "severe obstacle" to China-US military ties.