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China May Deploy New Long Range ICBM

Posted July. 12, 2006 03:00,   


While North Korea has launched Taepodong II, a missile known to be an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), and India its Agni-III of similar level, China has also been reported to be planning to deploy a new ICBM next year with enough range to cover all of the United States and Europe.

Defense News, a U.S. weekly on security issues, reported on July 10 that China plans to deploy starting 2007 the ICBM Dong Feng-31A, the first nuclear-capable missile of its kind with a range of 7,000 miles.

A 7,000 mile (11,270 km) range includes Washington D.C. as well as Madrid and Paris. The DF-31 can be armed with up to three nuclear warheads.

The new DF-31A boasts mobility, which reduces the risk of coming under preemptive fire. China’s previous ICBM, the DF-5 (range 5,200 miles, or 8,372 km) deployed 25 years ago, had been immobile.

The magazine noted that a total of sixty DF-31 missiles were going to be deployed, including the standard DF-31 deployed from end of last year.

U.S. defense experts say the DF-31s have failed in the two test-fires in 1992 and 1999, but succeeded after 2000.

China has been reported to have reviewed its previous strategies on war deterrence since the George W. Bush administration officially declared its doctrine of preemptive strike in 2001.

Seung-Ryun Kim srkim@donga.com