China brags nuclear-tipped missiles sending warnings to US’ ships in South China Sea
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|File photo taken on Sept. 3, 2015, shows DF-26 missiles attending a military parade in Beijing, the capital of China. Df-26 missiles can carry nuclear or conventional warheads (Image: NC).|
“The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Rocket Force recently launched a DF-26 intermediate-range anti-ship ballistic missile in an ongoing months-long exercise, after the US provocatively sent two aircraft carriers to the South China Sea for exercises and held joint naval drills with India, Japan and Australia in the Indian Ocean and the Philippine Sea respectively in an attempt to contain China”, the state-run newspaper the Global Times said.
The DF-26 is capable of striking moving targets at sea. Experts hailed the move as a demonstration of China's determination to "safeguard national sovereignty", it added.
The PLA Rocket Force missile brigade had recently started a cross-regional confrontational exercise, maneuvering through forests and simulated hostile chemical attacks in disguised missile vehicles to avoid satellite detection.
Eventually, upon reaching a desert area, troops were given the order to launch the missile.
The report cited CCTV as suggested the exercises had "honed the fast-reaction capabilities of the Rocket Force troops".
|A Chinese missile test in the Gobi desert (Image: NC)|
Speaking in 2018, Defense Ministry spokesman Senior Colonel Wu Qian said the DF-26 had been commissioned into the Rocket Force, could be equipped with either nuclear or conventional payloads, and was capable of launching precision strikes on land targets and medium and large vessels at sea.
Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert, said: "The US should fully understand that the PLA is not what it was in 1995 or 1996."
"China has the capability to make the US lose its aircraft carriers, and this is a key deterrent China should display and can show China's firm determination in safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity."
According to Express.co.uk, the DF-26 has an estimated range of 4,500 kilometers, putting US military facilities in Guam, Darwin and on the British overseas territory of Diego Garcia in range, a report by Chinese news site china.com.cn claimed in 2015.
US Defense Secretary Mark Esper expressed concerns about Beijing's "destabilizing" activity near Taiwan and the South China Sea in a call with Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe, the Pentagon said today.
|USS Ronald Reagan, one of the aircraft carriers sent to the South China Sea (Image: GETTY).|
Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman told reporters: "Secretary Esper also communicated the importance that the PRC (People's Republic of China) abide by international laws, rules, and norms and meet its international commitments."
During the call, which lasted an hour and a half, Mr. Esper also reiterated the importance of a "constructive, stable, and a results-oriented" relationship.
Tensions in the region have been increasing steadily in recent months.
Speaking last month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: "Today we are strengthening US policy in a vital, contentious part of that region — the South China Sea."
"We are making clear: Beijing’s claims to offshore resources across most of the South China Sea are completely unlawful, as is its campaign of bullying to control them."
He added: "The world will not allow Beijing to treat the South China Sea as its maritime empire."
China hit back at the weekend, with Senior Colonel Ren Guoqiang telling reporters: "At present, with the joint efforts of China and Asian countries, the situation in the South China Sea is generally stable, and positive progress has been made in relevant consultations.”
"China urges the US to stop making false remarks, stop taking provocative military actions, and stop sowing discord among countries in the region."
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