Nuclear Threat: Beijing's strategic military buildup continues with the unveiling of a road-mobile missile capable of delivering up to 10 atomic warheads anywhere in America. Time to show some flexibility, Mr. President?
The announcement of the DF-41's existence was not exactly approved by the Chinese government. As the Telegraph reports, the inadvertent original government Web post appeared to have been deleted on Friday, but the Chinese newspaper Global Times, which seems to have a penchant for revealing Chinese military developments, posted a screen capture.
The Telegraph account notes that the DF-41 is designed to have a range of 7,500 miles, according to a report by Jane's Strategic Weapon Systems, putting it among the world's longest-range missiles.
The Pentagon said in a June report the new missile is "capable of carrying multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles," as many as 10.
One of the Pentagon's annual reports to Congress on China's military several years ago said Beijing had halted development of the DF-41. But after flight tests in 2012 and last December, the Pentagon revised its assessment.
"China also is developing a new road-mobile ICBM known as the Dong Feng-41 (DF-41), possibly capable of carrying multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRV)," according to the latest report.
U.S. intelligence authorities, Bill Gertz reports in the Washington Free Beacon, regard the DF-41 as a first-strike weapon designed as a counter to existing U.S. missile defenses intended to deal only with missile threats from rogue North Korea and Iran.
"The emergence of the most recent image indicates that the DF-41 may now be in production," says Rick Fisher, a Chinese military expert with the International Assessment and Strategy Center.
"If this is the case, then it is also likely that the first DF-41 unit is now building up."
Each Chinese ICBM unit, Fisher told the Beacon, operates with six or 12 launchers, and it is likely that all units include one reload missile for each launcher.
"The math is not comforting: Three DF-41 units could account for up to between 360 to720 new warheads," Fisher said, adding that China is quickly gathering the potential to achieve nuclear parity with the U.S.
Last fall, as we have noted, the Global Times published a report on how China's strategic missile submarines would attack the Western U.S.
What was chilling about the report is that it included photos and graphics detailing damage projections for Seattle and Los Angeles after they had been hit by Chinese nuclear warheads and the deadly radiation that would spread all the way to Chicago.
"The 12 JL-2 nuclear warheads carried by one single Type 094 SBYN can kill and wound 5 million to 12 million Americans," the Global Times reported. "If we launch our DF 31A ICBMs over the North Pole, we can easily destroy a whole list of metropolises on the East Coast and the New England region of the U.S., including Annapolis, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Portland, Baltimore and Norfolk, whose population accounts for about one-eighth of America's total residents."
While we deactivate entire ICBM squadrons to ensure compliance with the New Start Treaty with Russia, Moscow violates such agreements with impunity as its neighbor prepares to fight and win a nuclear war with the U.S.
We would suggest something bigger than a nine iron, Mr. President.
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