South China Sea warning: Beijing brags its nuclear-tipped missiles can sink US ships

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South China Sea warning: Beijing brags its nuclear-tipped missiles can sink US ships

The People's Liberation Army's Rocket Force recently launched a DF-26 intermediate-range anti-ship ballistic missile - which can be equipped with n

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The People’s Liberation Army’s Rocket Force recently launched a DF-26 intermediate-range anti-ship ballistic missile – which can be equipped with nuclear warheads – as part of an ongoing exercise, after the US sent the vessels to the disputed waterway for exercises. They subsequently took took part in joint naval drills with India, Japan and Australia in the Indian Ocean and Philippine Sea.

The DF-26 is capable of striking moving targets at sea, the state-run newspaper the Global Times said.

Experts hailed the move as a demonstration of China’s determination to “safeguard national sovereignty”, it added.

The PLA Rocket Force missile brigade had recently started a cross-regional confrontational exercise, maneuvering through forests and simulated hostile chemical attacks in disguised missile vehicles to avoid satellite detection.

China missile test Gobi desert

A Chinese missile test in the Gobi desert (Image: NC)

Df-26 missiles

Df-26 missiles can carry nuclear or conventional warheads (Image: NC)

Eventually, upon reaching a desert area, troops were given the order to launch the missile.

The report cited CCTV as suggested the exercises had “honed the fast-reaction capabilities of the Rocket Force troops”.

Speaking in 2018, Defense Ministry spokesman Senior Colonel Wu Qian said the DF-26 had been commissioned into the Rocket Force, could be equipped with either nuclear or conventional payloads, and was capable of launching precision strikes on land targets and medium and large vessels at sea.

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USS Ronald Reagan

USS Ronald Reagan, one of the aircraft carriers sent to the South China Sea (Image: GETTY)

China has the capability to make the US lose its aircraft carriers

Song Zhongping

Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert, said: “The US should fully understand that the PLA is not what it was in 1995 or 1996.

“China has the capability to make the US lose its aircraft carriers, and this is a key deterrent China should display, and can show China’s firm determination in safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

The DF-26 has an estimated range of 4,500 kilometres, putting US military facilities in Guam, Darwin and on the British overseas territory of Diego Garcia in range, a report by Chinese news site china.com.cn claimed in 2015.

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US Defence Secretary Mark Esper

US Defence Secretary Mark Esper (Image: GETTY)

Senior Colonel Ren Guoqiang

Senior Colonel Ren Guoqiang (Image: NC)

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper expressed concerns about Beijing’s “destabilising” activity near Taiwan and the South China Sea in a call with Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe, the Pentagon said today.

Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman told reporters: “Secretary Esper also communicated the importance that the PRC (People’s Republic of China) abide by international laws, rules and norms and meet its international commitments.”

During the call, which lasted an hour and a half, Mr Esper also reiterated the importance of a “constructive, stable and a results oriented” relationship.

South China Sea mapped

South China Sea mapped (Image: Express)

Tensions in the region have been increasing steadily in recent months.

Speaking last month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “Today we are strengthening US policy in a vital, contentious part of that region — the South China Sea.

“We are making clear: Beijing’s claims to offshore resources across most of the South China Sea are completely unlawful, as is its campaign of bullying to control them.”

China missile tests

More Chinese missile tests (Image: NC)

He added: “The world will not allow Beijing to treat the South China Sea as its maritime empire.”

China hit back at the weekend, with Senior Colonel Ren Guoqiang telling reporters: “China has indisputable sovereignty over South China Sea islands and their adjacent waters, which has full historical and legal basis.

“At present, with the joint efforts of China and Asian countries, the situation in the South China Sea is generally stable, and positive progress has been made in relevant consultations.

“China urges the US to stop making false remarks, stop taking provocative military actions, and stop sowing discord among countries in the region.”



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