China has activated its “ship killer” Dong Feng ballistic missiles after a US navy ship traveled within 12 nautical miles of the Parcel Islands “to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by international law,” according to a US Pacific Fleet Spokesman.
In the 1990s, China laid claim to all of the Parcel Islands using a straight baseline around the entire archipelago, which it has labeled the Xisha Islands. The boundary is not recognized by international maritime law, while Vietnam and Taiwan have also laid claim to the islands.
The USS McCampbell (DDG-85) passed by the disputed island on Monday, during which “The Chinese side immediately sent military vessel and aircraft,” according to China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Lu Kang, adding that they warned the ship to leave.”
The deployment of the DF-26 missiles was reported by China’s state-controlled Global Times, which tweeted a montage of brave and loyal Chinese servicemen driving Xi’s Dongs to various locations in China set to the theme song of your average 1990s action movie. The missiles will not be positioned near the Taiwan Strait or the actual disputed islands – instead, the truck-mounted weapons have been sent to China’s more remote plateau and desert areas.
“A mobile missile launch from deep in the country’s interior is more difficult to intercept,” said an expert quoted by the Global Times, who claimed that the DF-26 has a range of 4500km, more than enough to cover the entire South China Sea.
“The DF-26 is China’s new generation of intermediate-range ballistic missile capable of targeting medium and large ships at sea,” warned the Times,” adding “It can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads.”
“During the initial phase of a ballistic missile launch, the missile is relatively slow and not difficult to detect, making it an easier target for enemy antimissile installations. After the missile enters a later stage, its speed is so high that chances for interception are significantly lower,” reads the report – which points out that it could hit a US naval base in Guam – located in the middle of the Pacific.
“The report is a good reminder that China is capable of safeguarding its territory,” reads the report.
Another video of the DF-21D set to yet more action movie music shows a CGI simulation of the Dong-Feng unsheathing at high altitude before its warhead reenters the earth’s atmosphere and decimates a fleet of ships with what appears to be a nuclear blast.
The US Navy’s territorial test came weeks after Australian media published details from a speech by one of China’s leading military commanders where he recommended sinking two US aircraft carriers to resolve the ongoing territorial dispute.
During a wide-ranging speech on the state of Sino-US relations, Rear Admiral Lou Yuan told a Shenzhen audience that the current trade spat was ‘definitely not simply friction over economics and trade,” but a “prime strategic issue.”
His speech, delivered on December 20 to the 2018 Military Industry List summit, declared that China’s new and highly capable anti-ship ballistic and cruise missiles were more than capable of hitting US carriers, despite them being at the centre of a ‘bubble’ of defensive escorts.
“What the United States fears the most is taking casualties,” Admiral Lou declared.
He said the loss of one super carrier would cost the US the lives of 5000 service men and women. Sinking two would double that toll.
Beijing has become more aggressive in recent years over the disputed islands – asserting sovereignty over the entirety of the South and East China seas despite an international arbitration court rejecting their claim, according to News.com.au. International law also prohibits Beijing to enforce territorial rights to the waters around artificial islands – which China has recently built on what was previously coral reefs.
China has demanded that all nations respect a 12 nautical mile (22km) boundary around them.
“We will continue to take necessary measures to safeguard national sovereignty and security,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu.