January 19, 2015 13:26
China has deployed Dongfeng-21 medium-range ballistic missiles at Mt. Baekdu that target Japan, the official International Herald Leader reported on Sunday.
The newspaper claimed it "analyzed" China Central Television footage of a nuclear arms and missiles corps in training in northeastern China to arrive at the conclusion. But since it is an official publication, the news is more likely to be a government plant than an investigative scoop.
The DF-21 series were originally ground-to-ground ballistic missiles with a range of 1,700-2,100 km, but the latest version in the series is modified into anti-ship ballistic missiles with a range of 3,000 km, which can threaten the U.S. aircraft carrier fleet.
The original version can hit any target in Korea and Japan, including U.S. Forces Japan bases in Okinawa. It can carry a 200-500 kiloton nuclear warhead. It is 10.7 m long and can fly at a speed of Mach 10. Its accuracy has improved from a 300-400 m radius to 1/10 of that.
The latest anti-ship version can hit the U.S. aircraft carrier fleet near Guam, the U.S. strategic bridgehead in the Asia-Pacific region as well as any target in the East Seas. It is very difficult to intercept because it is so fast and can change path in the final stage of flight.
China also reportedly deployed DF-21 missiles on the coast of Shandong Province in preparation for clashes with Japan over the Diaoyutai/Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. Shandong is close to the East China Sea but vulnerable to an attack by the Japanese air force.
China is believed to have some 50 to 100 missiles in the DF-21 series.
Prof. Cho Yang-hyun of the Korea National Diplomatic Academy said, "If China has deployed DF-21 missiles at Mt. Baekdu, it's a warning to the military alliance among Seoul, Washington and Tokyo."
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