Northcom: China’s Three Missile Submarines a ‘Concern’

North Korea has small warheads for ICBMs (Updated)

The Chinese Navy has deployed three ballistic missile submarines at sea capable of striking the United States with nuclear missiles, the commander of the U.S. Northern Command said Tuesday.

Adm. William Gortney, the commander, said the submarines are a “concern” and will be able to strike the United States when fully deployed with missiles and warheads.

The missile submarines are deployed in the South China Sea at a base on Hainan Island, according to a defense official.

“They’ve not loaded their missiles or begun strategic patrols,” the official said. “But we believe they are likely to begin this year.”

Gortney also stated explicitly that U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that North Korea is capable of mounting a small nuclear warhead on its new road-mobile KN-08 intercontinental missiles.

In a wide ranging interview with reporters at the Pentagon, the admiral also disclosed that Russia is engaged in political “messaging” by sending long-range nuclear bombers near the United States and will probably follow through with promises to fly Tu-22 Blackjack bombers near the southern U.S. coast.

It was the first time a senior U.S. military official voiced worries about Chinese nuclear missile submarines.

“And you know, their very long-range capability is a function of how far do they reach,” he said. “So even from their own waters, they can reach part of our homeland. Hawaii is part of our homeland and they can reach Hawaii. And then the farther east they go, they can reach more and more of our nation.”

Asked if they have conducted sea patrols near U.S. coasts, Gortney suggested Chinese submarines could conduct underwater operations near U.S. shores in the future.

“We haven’t seen those patrols just yet, but it doesn’t mean that those patrols can’t exist in the future,” he said.

Full article: Northcom: China’s Three Missile Submarines a ‘Concern’ (Washington Free Beacon)

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