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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid