China’s government is known for using high-level foreign visits to conduct tests of new military equipment such as missiles and stealth aircraft, and the White House is hoping Beijing does not conduct provocative tests while President Trump is visiting the country this week.
The most notable example was the January 2010 visit to China by then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates, when the Chinese military sought to sabotage the trip by flight-testing the first J-20 stealth fighter. Mr. Gates wrote in his memoir that the People’s Liberation Army nearly “wrecked” the visit. Two hours before he met with then-Chinese President Hu Jintao, China released photos of the new J-20 in what Mr. Gates called “about as big a ‘f– you’ as you can get.”
Mr. Trump met Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Forbidden City on Wednesday, and so far there have been no military provocations.U.S. intelligence agencies were braced for a possible long-range missile test since Sunday after Beijing announced an air-closure zone over an area of western China that was used in the past to test the new DF-41 ICBM. A Pentagon spokesman declined to comment when asked if a missile test occurred.
The air closure was reported by East Pendulum, a China-watching news site that has previewed earlier missile tests based on air closure announcements.
East Pendulum’s Henri Kenhmann stated that the closure zone for Nov. 6 was similar to the one used in the test of DF-41 on Dec. 4, 2015.
Asked about a possible provocative move, a senior White House official told Inside the Ring a military test is possible but that the Chinese appear to have been going out of their way to make the Trump visit a success.
“I am familiar with the different situations that have happened in the past, obviously,” the official said. “They told us it was just bad coincidences, but let’s hope that there are no bad coincidences on this trip. We’ll see what happens.”
Another Chinese provocation took place in October 2006 when a Chinese Song-class submarine surfaced within torpedo range of the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk. The submarine encounter occurred during the visit to China of the then-commander of the Navy’s Pacific Fleet, Adm. Gary Roughead.
Nuclear subs for South Korea
South Korea announced this week that President Moon Jae-in and President Trump will launch working-level talks on Seoul acquiring nuclear-powered submarines.
The disclosure that Seoul could buy or lease cruise missile-firing nuclear submarines would greatly enhance the U.S.-South Korean alliance by providing the South Korean military with a non-nuclear long-range strike capability as a deterrent to North Korea.
Full article: U.S. on alert for China moves (The Washington Times)