China Flexes Muscles With New Missile Tests
Amidst increasingly belligerent language from Beijing, new satellite photos published in the Taiwan media show huge craters in a mock-up of an aircraft carrier deck in the Gobi desert, believed to be created in tests of the new DF-21D anti-ship missile.
Originating in Soviet technology shared with China in the 1950s, the two-part missiles contain satellite-guided warheads capable of striking moving targets, including ships miles from the shore.
Recently an opinion column in state mouthpiece the Liberation Army Daily declared the necessity of an "end to romantic pacifism" and "full preparation" for war.
As China began talks with Russia on closer military co-operation between the two states, defence official Ashton Carter announced that the US was deploying new Lockheed Martin F-22 fighter planes, U-2 spy planes, drones and missile defence systems to Asia.
The US has reportedly been forced to adopt a series of highly classified tactical counter-measures in response to the new Chinese missile technology.
In an address to MPs, Head of Taiwan National Security Bureau Tsai The-sheng said last week that China had deployed DF-16 ballistic missiles in coastal areas near Taiwan.
The Chinese dispute the sovereignty of Taiwan and a number of islands, which are also claimed by Japan.
Tsai also said that China planned to build a nuclear aircraft carrier in addition to its three conventional carriers, one of which, the 58,500-ton Liaoning, was recently launched in Qingdao.
The Chinese still rely heavily on former Soviet technology and hardware: the new carrier was partly built in the Soviet Union, while the J-15 fighter plane is derivative of the Soviet SU-27.
The Sina.com site reports engine and hydraulics problems on the craft and the Chinese are expected to request greater military hardware support from Russia. The first meeting between the states since Chinese premier Xi Jinping took power took place on Saturday 23 March. However, the Russians have expressed their anger at the Chinese replicating their military technology without permission in the past.