China is currently conducting experimental testing on its new long-range ballistic missile, Dongfeng-21D, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) chief of general staff Chen Bingde has said.

“The missile is still undergoing experimental testing and will be used as a defensive weapon when it is successfully developed, not an offensive one,” he added.

“It is a high-tech weapon and we face many difficulties in getting funding, advanced technologies and high-quality personnel, which are all underlying reasons why it is hard to develop this.”

The missile has a maximum range of 2,700km and is capable of striking moving targets including aircraft carriers at sea.

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The Chinese Ministry of Defence plans to test the military’s anti-aircraft carrier capability in next year’s annual Han Kuang drill, according to local media sources.

The Press Trust of India has reported the chief as saying that the first Chinese aircraft carrier, Varyag, a 67,500t refurbished version of an old Ukrainian ship, will be used for research.