December 14, 2009 09:39
The Chinese Army is believed to have built an underground "Great Wall" that stretches for more than 5,000 km in the Hebei region of northern China. Citing the People's Liberation Army's official newsletter, the Ta Kung Pao daily of Hong Kong on Saturday said China's strategic missile squadron, the Second Artillery Division, built a massive underground tunnel to conceal nuclear weapons, including the Dongfeng 5 intercontinental ballistic missile with a range of 13,000 km.
Since 1995, the Second Artillery Division has mobilized tens of thousands of soldiers to build a network of tunnels stretching for more than 5,000 km below the mountain regions of Hebei, China's state-run CCTV reported. "A missile base has been built hundreds of meters underground and can withstand several nuclear attacks," CCTV said. "People refer to the network of tunnels connecting to the missile base as the 'Underground Great Wall.'" In March 2008, CCTV broadcast a documentary which revealed that the PLA had been building underground facilities enabling it to launch a counterstrike in case of a nuclear attack.
Taiwan's Asia-Pacific Defense Magazine also said, "The early version of China's mid- to long-range missiles had all been deployed above ground and were vulnerable to detection by spy satellites and attacks by interceptor missiles. That prompted the Chinese military to move all of their missiles hundreds of meters underground." As a result, the squadrons of the PLA deployed there are completely undetectable because they are based in subterranean bunkers and move around beneath the surface.
The purpose of the secretly constructed underground Great Wall is to give China a second chance after a nuclear attack, military experts said. The main objective of the Second Artillery Division is to be able to launch a counterattack against enemy targets after escaping the first volley of attacks. The Ta Kung Pao daily reported that it was unprecedented for the PLA's newsletter to reveal classified information about the tunnels and that this demonstrates Beijing's confidence in its military power.
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