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BEIJING: China has tested its most powerful non-nuclear weapon, dubbed the “Mother of All Bombs” by official media in a direct reference to a US munition used in Afghanistan.

In a short video published on the website of state arms manufacturer Norinco, the massive bomb drops on to a plain and produces a gigantic ball of fire and black smoke.

On social networks Wednesday, the official Xinhua news agency described the bomb for the first time, calling it the “Chinese version of the ‘Mother of all Bombs’”.

A Chinese H-6K bomber dropped the bomb, whose strength is only second to that of a nuclear weapon, according to the agency.

No details on the date, location or range of the bomb blast were provided.

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In 2017 the US dropped the most powerful conventional bomb in its arsenal, dubbed the “MOAB” – the “Mother of All Bombs” – in an attempt to destroy a tunnel network being used by the Islamic State (IS) group in the east of Afghanistan.

US president Donald Trump said at the time he was “proud” of his troops and congratulated them on their success.

The Chinese bomb is five to six metres long (16 to 20 feet), but weighs less than the American version, according to military analyst Wei Dongxu, who was quoted by the semi-official Global Times daily on Friday.

“The massive explosion that was generated would easily wipe out land fortifications,” said Wei.

President Xi Jinping on Friday had ordered the Chinese armed forces to enhance their combat readiness from a new starting point and open new ground for developing a strong military.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), made the instruction at a CMC meeting held in Beijing.

“The world is facing a period of major changes never seen in a century, and China is still in an important period of strategic opportunity for development,” he said, warning that various risks and challenges were on the rise.

The entire armed forces should have a correct understanding of China’s security and development trends, enhance their awareness of danger, crisis and war, and make solid efforts on combat preparations in order to accomplish the tasks assigned by the Party and the people, he had said.

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