News / Asia

China Seen Moving Closer to Deployment of 'Carrier Killer' Missile

William Ide

A senior U.S. commander has recently revealed that China's development of an anti-ship ballistic missile that is designed to target aircraft carriers is now operational.  Defense analysts say that while China has a way to go to perfect the weapon system, the development and deployment of the missile will have a major impact on security in Asia.

In a recent interview with Japan's Asahi Shimbun newspaper, Admiral Robert Willard, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, said that information China has released in the open press and continued testing show it has reached the equivalent of what the U.S. military calls initial operational capability for the weapons system.

Listen to the extended Q&A with Andrew Erickson


Andrew Erickson, the co-founder of China SignPost, a website that focuses on China analysis and research, explains.

"What's very significant here is for the first time ever, someone in a position of authority and information access, has stated that the missile is roughly equivalent to a U.S. military development benchmark," said Erickson.

Admiral Willard says reaching initial operational capability means China has a workable design for the missile and that it is being further developed.

The land-based missile, which is called the Dongfeng 21 D, is designed to attack aircraft carrier groups with the help of satellites and unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs.

Listen to the extended Q&A with Dean Cheng


Dean Cheng, a research fellow at Washington D.C.'s Heritage Foundation says that with the help of satellites and UAVs the fast-moving missile is designed to target an aircraft carrier in the sea and come at them from high altitudes.

"The idea is to damage an aircraft carrier, destroy the planes on the deck, not necessarily sinking it, but keeping it from basically being able to fly aircraft for the next several days, weeks or even month," said Cheng.

Admiral Willard says that while the U.S. military has yet to see an over-water test of the system, the advanced ballistic missile system - along with other so called anti-access area denial capabilities China is deploying such as air defense systems, advanced naval systems such as submarines- are a concerning development for countries in the region.

Dean Cheng says Admiral Willard's comments show that China is increasing the pace of its military development. China's development of anti-access area denial capabilities, he says, sends a clear message about security in the region.

"This weapons system [China's anti-ship ballistic missile], in combination with Chinese submarines, Chinese long range anti-ship cruise missiles, Chinese anti-ship aircraft, all of these in combination are clearly aimed at saying to the United States: 'back off, your role here in the Western Pacific is going to be limited'," he said.

In additon to the U.S., there is already growing concern among China's neighbors about the speed at which China is developing and expanding its naval power. Japan recently decided to shift the focus of its national defense toward China.

Erickson says China's neighbors are likely to react to the development of the weapon system.

"It still remains to be seen exactly what some of the reactions will be, but I suspect that there may well be some very significant concerns in Japan, in South Korea and in Taiwan for instance," he said.

He adds that concerns are likely because China has been releasing information or technical "data points" about the anti-ship ballistic missile or other systems that speak more to experts and foreign militaries, but not citizens in the region.

"What they do not do well [the data points], I believe, is speak to the citizen in other nations and socieities in East Asia as to what China is actually doing here? How far it intends to go? What China envisions as being the consequences," asked Erickson.

When a Chinese foreign ministry official was asked about the ballistic missile system earlier this week she did not respond directly, but stressed China was purusing a defensive military policy and seeks peaceful development.

Still, China's steps toward deploying the anti-ship ballistic missile and other military trends are having an impact on the ongoing debate in Washington over whether China is a friend or foe.

Dean Cheng says  the news will certainly add "amunition" to the argument that China is an unfriendly power and rising threat.

"The flip side to this is that we have the [Defense Secretary Robert] Gates visit to China, we have the [Chinese President] Hu [Jintao] - [President Barack] Obama summit here in Washington will provide an opportunity for China to clarify itself," he said.

Erickson says China's military trends and agressive behavior over the past few years  is having a broad impact in Washington.

"I think even a lot of people who were previously quite optimistic about U.S. - China relations have become more pessimistic and more concerned, frankly," he said.

Those who were already pessimistic, Erickson adds, see these latest developments as a sign that there never really were grounds to be optimistic about China and that those who were optimistic were just naive.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid