I see Type 15 get referred to it both ways in China though, both "轻型坦克" and "轻型主战坦克". It's much heavier compared to the 21 tons of Type 62. Once you stack on ERA and APS it's as well protected against HEAT as a MBT, only really showing a difference when it encounters big direct fire guns, were as with Type 62 and other 20 ton tanks they are in trouble if they run into an autocannon.Not sure calling it "light MBT" is right - it by definition isn't an MBT. "Light MBT" moniker only makes sense for countries which either center their fleet on that type for geographical reasons, or at least don't plan to ever use them on same battleflields.
By logic and duties, it's simply a medium* ** tank, designed to give some reasonable firepower to infantry brigade combat teams(and, more importantly, restored divisions), making them peer frontline-capable.
*i have problems calling 30t+ vehicles light, especially when it's really possible to make reasonable light tanks at half that weight.
**Furthermore, the mix of qualities possessed by both ZTQ-15 and MPF is really reminiscent of WW2 mediums: adequate gun, good mobility, reasonable chance to survive infantry AT.
It is a bit like a WW2 medium tank, which after all are the ancestor to modern day MBT, so I can see how "light tank" or "light main battle tank" would both work for this class of vehicle.
I question why the US would want a tank like this though. For their own good it better not be a case of "if China has one I have to have one too", would be a big waste of resources at a time they can't afford to.