Pentagon: Growing Threat as China Expands Missile Arsenal Development

China is developing several new short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, according to a military intelligence report made public this week.

“China has the most active and diverse ballistic missile development program in the world,” the report by the National Air and Space Intelligence Center stated.

“It is developing and testing offensive missiles, forming additional missile units, qualitatively upgrading missile systems, and developing methods to counter ballistic missile defenses,” the report said.

According to the report, “Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat,” China’s missile force is “is expanding in both size and types of missiles.”

China is continuing to deploy conventionally armed short-range missiles opposite Taiwan, where more than 1,200 missiles are located.

Additionally, the Chinese military is building several new short-range missiles and maintains what the report said is “a very large force” of modern solid-propellant systems. One new short-range missile system revealed for the first time is called the DF-16.

“The prospect of the [People’s Liberation Army] building new longer and shorter range missiles to compliment existing forces of around 1,200 600-kilometer range DF-15 and DF-11 missiles points toward a greater threat to Taiwan and to U.S. and Japanese forces on Okinawa,” Fisher said.

The new missiles “could signify a new period for overall PLA [short-range ballistic missile] growth,” he said.

“From PLA-controlled Woody Island in the Paracel Island group, the CSS-6 Mod 2 has sufficient range to target U.S. ships that may be returning for ‘stationing’ at Subic Bay in the Philippines.”

Additionally, the new Chinese missiles also could be nuclear tipped, something not mentioned in the report.

A retired Russian general, Viktor Yesin, said in 2012 that China maintains nuclear warheads for its short-range missiles and could have as many as 500 tactical nuclear weapons.

The United States unilaterally reduced its tactical nuclear warhead stockpile, while both China and Russia are increasing their arsenals of similar weapons, he said.

Fisher said the report was deficient because it failed to mention China’s development of a new 2,480-mile range intermediate range missile that appeared in photos on the Chinese Internet in 2012.

“If China deploys this missile after 2015, as some Chinese reports have suggested, it is likely to create much greater pressure on Russia to formally withdraw from the 1988 Intermediate Nuclear Force agreement, which keeps Russia and the U.S. from building this class of missile,” Fisher said.

The report also fails to mention China’s network of 3,100 miles of underground tunnels used to store both missiles and nuclear warheads.

“The number of Chinese ICBM nuclear warheads capable of reaching the United States could expand to well over 100 within the next 15 years,” the report said. “The new JL-2 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) is also under development.”

Full article: Pentagon: Growing Threat as China Expands Missile Arsenal Development (Washington Free Beacon)

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