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

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More