With all eyes on North Korea, China quietly tests missiles over weekend, US officials tell Fox

By Lucas Tomlinson

As the world reacted to North Korea’s record-setting long-range missile test Friday, one day later and hundreds of miles away, China quietly performed a dramatic series of missile tests of its own, designed U.S. officials say, to send a message to the United States and the world.

On Saturday, U.S. spy agencies detected the Chinese military launching a series of 20 missiles at mock up targets designed to look like American THAAD missile batteries and advanced US Air Force F-22 stealth fighter jets.

China has long protested the deployment of U.S. THAAD anti-ballistic missiles to South Korea, and doubled down on its condemnation after the government in Seoul said they want four more American launchers over the weekend following North Korea’s second KN-20 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch.

Officials believe the Chinese military tested intermediate, medium and cruise missiles and were also meant to coincide with China’s Army Day celebrations on August 1st, when China staged a massive military parade involving 12,000 troops in the desert along with dozens of tanks, jets and missiles.  Chinese state media said it was the first time China ever celebrated Army Day with a parade, attended by China’s President Xi Jinping and Beijing’s military chief.

China currently has as many destroyers, crusiers and submarines as the U.S. Navy.  Beijing recently put a new type of destroyer in the water which analysts say rivals advanced American Arleigh Burke-class destroyers.

Days before the China missile tests Saturday, U.S. military satellites also detected a failed attempt of China’s anti-ballistic missile system—Beijing’s version of the US THAAD system

At the State Department Tuesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters the United States and China are at a “pivot point” in history.

Tillerson acknowledged differences between super powers over North Korea and Beijing’s continued island construction of military bases in the South China Sea.

“We will deal with those differences in a way that does not lead to open conflict,” Tillerson vowed.

China's U.N. envoy said this week said it’s up to the United States and North Korea, not Beijing, to reduce tensions and work toward resuming talks to end Pyongyang's nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile programs.

Tillerson said yesterday “at some point” he would be open for talks with North Korea.

One day after North Korea’s record-setting intercontinental ballistic missile launch, President Trump tweeted that he was “very disappointed” in China for doing “nothing” to stop North Korea’s missile and nuclear weapons programs.