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PLA pledges to better safeguard national security

By ZHAO LEI | China Daily | Updated: 2023-07-08 07:20
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The army of the Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) conducts long-range live-fire drills in the Taiwan Straits, Aug 4, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

The United States' military doesn't need to worry about China's missile force if it does not make provocations or intimidation, the People's Liberation Army flagship media outlet said.

The PLA Daily said in a short editorial on Wednesday that the PLA Rocket Force is the core pillar of China's strategic deterrence capability, a foundation of the nation's status as a global power, and an important guarantee of national security.

"The Rocket Force's hardware modernization is focused on the improvement of its strategic deterrence power and operational capacity, and is intended to better safeguard national security rather than to threaten any other country or specific target," the editorial said. "As long as the US military does not provoke or intimidate us, it does not need to worry about our missiles. But if anyone dares to invade, the Chinese armed forces will definitely fight back and defeat their enemies."

During a recent interview with CBS' 60 Minutes, Admiral Samuel Paparo, commander of the US Pacific Fleet, said he worries about the PLA Rocket Force, as the Chinese missile units are able to hit US aircraft carriers.

"And of course I work every single day to develop the tactics and the techniques and the procedures to counter it, and to continue to develop the systems that can also defend against them," the US commander said.

During the interview, Norah O'Donnell, anchor of the CBS program, mentioned the DF-21D and DF-26, two of the PLA Rocket Force's ballistic missiles, saying that they can be used to sink US naval ships.

Chinese weapons observers have said the DF-21D and DF-26 are the only two anti-ship ballistic missiles in the world and they have been widely deployed with the rocket force. The two models feature high mobility and high precision, have major destructive power and can be launched on rough terrain.

Wu Peixin, a military affairs observer in Beijing, said it is understandable that senior US military officers worry about China's missile force.

"With reconnaissance assistance from China's air, naval and space-based assets, the PLA Rocket Force can track any large target on the sea and then launch 'carpet bombing' with its DF-21D and DF-26 ballistic missiles as well as a lot of long-range anti-ship cruise missiles. I don't believe there are any other countries capable of doing this," Wu said. "That will force the US to think twice before making provocations or intimidation on our doorstep."

Wang Ya'nan, chief editor of Aerospace Knowledge magazine, said a possible reason behind Paparo's hyping China's "missile threat" is that this issue could be a good excuse for a bigger budget and better hardware.


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