The PLA war machine’s intimidation is more than a test for the Japanese. Rather, it’s a test for the United States to show itself to Japan as either a reliable ally or an unreliable ally. At the rate the USA is disarming combined with the economy’s effect on the military and national security, it’s no longer unthinkable that it wouldn’t even be able to protect itself within the next four to ten years — let alone Japan or another ally.
United States intelligence agencies recently detected China’s military shifting road-mobile ballistic missiles closer to its southern coast near the disputed Senkaku Islands amid growing tensions between Beijing and Japan over the islands dispute.
U.S. defense officials said the movements are being watched closely as China’s military is also holding large-scale military exercises that some fear could be a trigger for a conflict with Japan that could involve U.S. forces.
Tensions remain high between Japan and China over Tokyo’s nationalization last year of several uninhabited islands between Okinawa and Taiwan called the Senkakus. China claims the islands as its territory. At issue are large undersea oil and gas deposits sought by both energy-poor countries.
The officials confirmed the missile movements near the provinces of Zhejiang and Fujian after Chinese press outlets first reported them.
The most recent report appeared in the Hong Kong newspaper Oriental Daily News, a non-Chinese owned outlet that quoted a military source as saying the missile deployments included new solid-fueled DF-16 road-mobile missiles.
The Feb. 21 report said the People’s Liberation Army Second Artillery Corps, which operates missile units, were preparing to target the disputed Senkaku Islands as well as U.S. military bases in Okinawa.
The Daily News stated that the missile movements were signs the PLA is “preparing for the worst regarding the territorial dispute between China and Japan over the Senkaku Islands.”
The report also stated that the DF-16 is capable of defeating U.S.-made Patriot missile batteries that are deployed at U.S. and Japanese military bases in the region. The DF-16 is said to be armed with multiple warheads.
According to the report, the PLA navy near the Senkakus is part of China’s “trump card” weaponry—niche military capabilities that could allow a weaker force to defeat a stronger one.
The U.S. newsletter East-Asia-Intel.com reported Feb. 13 that China’s military appeared to be making war preparations by holding large-scale exercises around the Lunar New Year, including live fire artillery and air force bombing runs.
The newsletter said state media also reported large-scale troop movements and maneuvers near the coastal Fujian and Zheijiang provinces, the areas closest to the Senkakus.
John Tkacik, a former State Department specialist on China, said Chinese television recently reported that PLA missile forces practiced saturation bombing exercises that used for the first time an automatic launch system that could fire 10 warheads accurately on one target.
The U.S. military is committed to defending Japan in any conflict despite Obama administration assertions that it takes no sides in territorial disputes.
China has been building up its short- and medium-range missile forces in the region for at least a decade. U.S. intelligence agencies estimate the total number of missiles in the region is between 1,200 and 1,500 missiles.
They include mainly DF-15 and DF-11 short-range missiles. Taiwan government sources have reported that China also has deployed longer-range DF-21s in the region.
A variant of the DF-21 is a special anti-ship ballistic missile designed by Beijing to sink U.S. aircraft carriers and it is one of the main reasons for the Pentagon’s buildup in Asia to counter what it calls anti-access and area-denial weapons.
A Pentagon spokesman declined to comment on the recent missile movements.
Fisher said China is also moving toward deployment of a new, nuclear or conventional-tipped 3,000-kilometer range missile dubbed the DF-25.
“China’s goal is to overwhelm the United States and its democratic allies with new missiles, much as it has overwhelmed Taiwan with shorter range missiles,” Fisher said.
The growing Chinese missile threat comes as the Obama administration unilaterally retired its theater-range nuclear Tomahawk cruise missiles even as China is moving ahead with new missiles of that range.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping said during a visit earlier this month to a military command that Chinese forces should be “expanding and deepening” combat readiness. Xi in December also called for intensifying “real combat” skills.
The United States and Japan held combined military exercises that ended Feb. 15 called “Exercise Iron First.” Chinese state media reported the war games were practice for “island seizure” operations and preparations for a conflict with China over the Senkakus.
More than 1,000 Marines and 280 Japanese Self-Defense Forces troops took part in the maneuvers at Camp Pendelton, Calif.
China on Monday announced that its navy has deployed the first of a new generation of radar-evading stealth warships, called a Type 056 frigate.
The official Chinese military newspaper PLA Daily stated that the new frigate will be deployed in large numbers and features low radar observability and electromagnetic signatures.
Full article: Beijing War Prep – China moves mobile missiles near coast amid tensions with Japan over islands (Washington Free Beacon)