• Wed
  • Oct 15, 2014
  • Updated: 5:16pm
NewsChina
DEFENCE

China's development of a new long-range missile is a significant boost for the military, say analysts

Analysts say development of long-range rocket may prompt the US and Japan to strengthen their own defence capabilities in the region

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 August, 2014, 5:53am
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 August, 2014, 3:01pm
 

China's development of a long-range missile capable of hitting anywhere in the United States suggests the PLA has made a significant leap in countering American military might through its strategy of "asymmetrical" warfare.

The approach, which has its roots in Sun Tzu's The Art of War, avoids trying to match strength with strength, and instead seeks to create threats that draw an opponent into making a costly response. Amid such calculations, China appears set to introduce the Dongfeng-41, which analysts say will have repercussions at the global and regional levels and alter the US and Japanese military build-up.

"The US will speed up the deployment of its ballistic missile defence systems in the AsiaPacific region after confirming the PLA is continuing to develop the DF-41," said Macau-based military observer Antony Wong Dong.

"When Washington increases its ballistic missile defence abilities, Beijing will possibly react by strengthening the deployment of the DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile, or even extend the range of the so-called carrier killer."

The development of the DF-41 was disclosed, possibly by accident, by a government environmental monitoring centre in Shaanxi in June. The information was picked up in a report by the state-run Global Times on the anniversary of the formation of the People's Liberation Army on August 1, although it was later removed.

According to industry estimates, the missile is designed to carry up to 10 independent re-entry vehicles each targeting a separate city as far as 12,000km away. The previous model, the DF-31, has an estimated range of 10,000km, putting it within reach of capitals in Europe and the US west coast.

Professor Arthur Ding Shu-fan, secretary general of the Taipei-based Chinese Council of Advanced Policy Studies, said the DF-41 would prompt the Pentagon to work more closely with Japan by strengthening its missile defence systems in the Asia Pacific, and possibly give Tokyo an argument for developing nuclear weapons.

"The upcoming introduction of the DF-41 by the PLA will help [Japanese] Prime Minister Shinzo Abe push his cause to normalise the Japanese army," Ding said.

"Indeed, if collective selfdefence is added to Japan's constitution, Abe's next step might be to develop nuclear weapons. And it's possible that Washington will back Tokyo in developing this capability in a bid to contain a rising China."

Until now, the Pentagon has focused on the threat posed by China's DF-21D missile, which it fears could knock out an aircraft carrier, weakening the US' naval dominance, according to a report published by the Centre for a New American Security, a Washington think tank.

Dr Richard Bitzinger, a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, said the Pentagon had expected China to develop the DF-41 given the technology involved was within China's reach.

"Honestly, multiple independent re-entry vehicles have always been a worry for [the US'] ballistic missile defence. It's one of the things that killed antiballistic-missile defences in the 1970s," Bitzinger said. But he agreed the US was likely to respond by speeding up development of its ballistic missile defences.

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spyeatte
USA's Minuteman missile can only carry three warheads while China's new missile can carry ten. By treaty with Russia, American missiles just carry one warhead, now. Clearly, reduction of nuclear arms is a thing of the past. I don't see how any further cuts in nuclear inventories can occur when weapons like these are being developed.
Ant Lee
The first target will be Hong Kong.
nmp_inc
Ding's observations re providing the US a justification for allowing Japan to openly developed a nuclear capability aren't well founded. A nuclear-equipped Japan is destabilizing across the region for one. Second, the US is already slowly recognizing that it cannot control a resurgent militarized Japan and that it would create more problems than 'possibly' solve vis-a-vis a more capable Chinese nuclear force. Third, ballistic missile defenses are easily overcome and not sufficiently proven or capable enough when you are discussing MIRV'ed capable ballistic missiles. Fourth, China can already strike the US with its very small nuclear force. The new capability - if real - provides more survivability against a US first strike than it provides any true offensive capability for Beijing. Now, this isn't the say that countries like Japan and Taiwan won't try to use the development to manipulate unformed publics and elites, just that they are bogus to begin with.
 
 
 
 
 

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