China / Society

Experts: No implied threat from missile

By Zhao Lei (China Daily) Updated: 2016-06-16 07:50

Chinese military experts on Wednesday countered speculation by foreign media that the People's Liberation Army wanted to keep other countries' forces away from South China Sea by displaying its DF-21D anti-ship missile.

South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo said on its website on Tuesday that the PLA had showed off the missile in a military news program on China Central Television.

The newspaper quoted unidentified analysts as saying the move marked the first public appearance of the missile and represented China's response to the United States' deployment of two aircraft carrier battle groups in the South China Sea.

The report came at a time of lingering tension in the region over territorial disputes. According to military news outlets in the United States, the John C Stennis Carrier Strike Group is operating in the South China Sea, while the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group departed Yokosuka, Japan, on June 4 for a regional patrol.

"Overseas media's focus on the missile is a misinterpretation of the CCTV footage," said a military expert close to the PLA Rocket Force, who requested anonymity.

"The news was intended to report on the achievements made by one of the Rocket Force's institutes, rather than on DF-21D units. The missile only happened to appear in the footage," he said.

In addition, the recent appearance of the missile was not its first, he said. CCTV broadcast footage of the missile during a launch exercise around the Chinese New Year holiday in February.

Yang Chengjun, a Chinese missile expert, said exercises of the PLA Rocket Force are made in accordance with training schedules and usually do not have ulterior motives, as some foreign media often speculate.

Chinese military analysts believe DF-21D, as well as the DF-26, an intermediate-range ballistic missile, are the only two ballistic missiles in the world capable of sinking aircraft carriers.

US military observers say the DF-21D has a range of 1,500 kilometers and is equipped with maneuverable warheads and a terminal guidance system.

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