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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

China to unveil new missiles

This blog has talked much about China's soft power and its growing deft touch at public diplomacy. In this instance, it's hard power all the way, with a parade to showcase (read assert) its military power.

"The parades, held every 10 years, typically showcase new-generation weapons systems and are closely scrutinised by both domestic and foreign military watchers for clues about Chinese development trends." Straits Times 02 September 2009

Interesting choice of name for the missile - Dong Feng: meaning East Wind. It's hard to ignore the subtext for such a choice of name, suggestive of a force from the East, perhaps. It also harks back to the Han Dynasty where Liu Bei's strategist Zhuge Liang (181-234AD) turned the tides of war with the symbolic 'borrowing of the east wind'. Click here for a read of that great story.

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China to unveil new missiles
AFP
Source - Straits Times, 2 September 2009

BEIJING - CHINA will unveil a range of previously unknown missiles during its October 1 National Day parade, including intercontinental ballistic nuclear missiles, state media said on Wednesday.

The new hardware on display also will include conventional cruise missiles and both short- and medium-range missiles, the Global Times newspaper reported, citing an unnamed People's Liberation Army source.

'These missiles are domestically designed and manufactured and have never been officially reported before,' the source, who is with the PLA's strategic missile defence unit, was quoted as saying.

The weapons have already been distributed to the military and are ready for operation, the source said.

China's missile development programme has caused concern overseas, particularly in the United States, amid projections that it could soon tip the security balance in the Taiwan Strait.

An August report by the Rand Corporation, a US think-tank, said China was increasing both the quantity and quality of its short-range ballistic missiles, which could challenge the US's ability to protect Taiwan from possible attack.

China issued a military policy white paper earlier this year, saying its missile programme was aimed mainly at 'deterrence'.

However, it added it was also capable of 'conducting nuclear counter-attacks and precision strikes with conventional missiles.' China will stage a huge military parade and pageant in Beijing on October 1 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of communist China.

The parades, held every 10 years, typically showcase new-generation weapons systems and are closely scrutinised by both domestic and foreign military watchers for clues about Chinese development trends.

The expert quoted by the Global Times did not reveal the model names or numbers of the missiles. However, missiles believed to have been developed by China include the Dongfeng 41, a solid-fuel ICBM with an estimated range of up to 12,000 kilometres (7,500 miles).

The missile would be China's longest-range ICBM, according to US-based GlobalSecurity.org, a leading independent source of military information. -- AFP

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