China has tested a weapon which could be used to strike London and the United States with nuclear warheads.
The Dongfeng-41 missile, which has the longest range of any ballistic rocket in the world, can carry up to ten nuclear warheads.
US Pentagon officials are said to have slammed China for testing the 'intercontinental weapons', which have a maximum range of around 8,700 miles.
US Pentagon officials are said to have slammed China for testing missiles which have a maximum range of around 8,700 miles (file photo of Chinese submarine)
China hit back at its critics today, saying it was perfectly 'normal' to carry out ballistic missile launches.
US media site Washington Free Beacon, citing unnamed Pentagon officials, reported that China had carried out a test of its DF-41 long-range missile on April 12.
The report linked the tests to tensions between Washington and Beijing over the South China Sea, noting it came three days before a visit by US Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter.
In a brief response, China's defence ministry did not deny a test had been carried out, but dismissed media reports of a specific location as 'pure speculation'.
A statement on the ministry's website said: 'It is normal for us to carry out scientific research tests in our own territory, according to our plans, and they are not aimed at any specific nations or targets.'
China claims nearly all of the South China Sea, which is home to some of the world's most important shipping lanes and is believed to contain vast oil reserves.
The Dongfeng-41 missile, which has the longest range of any ballistic rocket in the world, can carry up to ten nuclear warheads (pictured, Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2011)
But many of its Southeast Asian neighbours have overlapping claims, and tensions have risen over China's construction of artificial reefs in the disputed waters.
On Monday, China's defence ministry gave its first confirmation that Beijing had landed a military flight on the Fiery Cross reef in the Spratlys archipelago, also claimed by the Philippines.
On the day of Carter's trip, Beijing said that one of its top military officials had visited a South China Sea island.
Obama and Xi meet on denuclearization at the start of the month
Credit to Dailymail.co.uk
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