Wednesday, July 17, 2013

China Has World’s Most Active Missile Programs

2013-07-12 — China’s military has the world’s “most active and diverse ballistic missile program,” with an expanding inventory of nuclear warheads that can reach the U.S., according to a Pentagon intelligence report.

The arsenal includes a new submarine-launched JL-2 ballistic missile that will for the first time let Chinese submarines target parts of the U.S. from near China’s coast, the National Air and Space Intelligence Center said in a new assessment.

China is expanding its missile program under a broader military modernization plan that’s seen the country’s defense spending more than double since 2006. China’s neighbors including Japan and the Philippines have expressed concern that its government is becoming more aggressive in the region, as the U.S. also puts new emphasis on forces in the Asia-Pacific.

Some of China’s weapons are “specifically designed to prevent adversary military forces’ access to regional conflicts,” according to the report, an update to one released in 2009.
Admiral Samuel Locklear, head of the U.S. Pacific Command, told reporters in Washington today that China’s “sophisticated ballistic missile programs” were under way long “before there was ever any discussion about a strategic rebalance to the Asia-Pacific” by the U.S.

China is developing and testing new missiles, upgrading older systems, forming new missile units and working on ways to counter missile defenses, the report said. The number of Chinese nuclear warheads capable of hitting the U.S. “could expand to well over 100 within the next 15 years,” it said.

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