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Missile being launched from a submarine  (Source: Daily Mail)
Experts believe it could be years before the missiles are fully operational

There are potential future hot spots for military conflict all over the world, with China being high on the list. Since the days of WWII, the U.S. Navy has had the clear superiority in surface ship warfare in the waters in and around China, but the Chinese have a new missile system that could cause the U.S. to rethink its plans for any future conflicts in the area.

Newsroom America
 reports that China has a new missile known as the DF-21 that has reached its "initial operational capability" (IOC). The IOC milestone for the Chinese weapon system means that the design has been settled on but the system will continue to be refined according to military experts.

Admiral Robert F. Willard, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command told the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, "An analogy using a Western term would be 'initial operational capability (IOC),' whereby I think China would perceive that it has an operational capability now, but they continue to develop it. I would gauge it as about the equivalent of a U.S. system that has achieved IOC."

The missile can be launched from land and is capable of striking surface vessels that are moving, with enough force to destroy a U.S. supercarrier with one hit. 

A U.S. Naval Institute report from last year said of the missile system, "The size of the missile enables it to carry a warhead big enough to inflict significant damage on a large vessel."

The missile is launched from land, soars into the atmosphere, and then uses a complex guidance system combined with maneuverability and a low radar signature to evade defensive weapons and hit moving targets. So far, the U.S. has not detected over-the-surface tests of the missile on moving targets.

Despite the continued growth of the Chinese military and the new weapons system, 
DailyMail reports that the Chinese military still maintains that it is no threat to countries in its region. The missile would be guided by an interwoven system of UAVs, submarines, and satellites to its target.

Chinese military spokesperson Jiang Wu said, "I can say that China pursues a defensive national policy. ... We pose no threat to other countries. We will always be a force in safeguarding regional peace and stability."

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RE: China: We no threat to nobody!
By psychmike on 12/29/2010 8:59:58 PM , Rating: 5
The US has major bases in proximity. It has sailed carriers into the region whenever it has disagreed with a country's foreign policy. It has overthrown democratically-elected governments (e.g., Guatemala) while supporting oppressive regimes (e.g, Saudi Arabia). It intervenes on humanitarian grounds in some cases (e.g, Yugoslavia) while not intervening in others (e.g., East Timor).

Like any other country, the US primarily pursues its own interests. It doesn't act simply out of principle. That's not a criticism, it's just a fact. Political realism has strong roots in the US (e.g., Mearsheimer, Waltz).

Given that fact, China aims to become a regional power. It has a LONG history of conflict with many of its neighbours including India and Japan. It aims to pursue its own interests and sees the US as intrusive in its backyard.

Outright conflict is unlikely as both sides would have too much to lose. It is not credible to paint China as a peer competitor to the US or to view it as an aggressor. The US is at least 20 years ahead of China in most areas of military technology (metallurgy, stealth, AESA).

The best thing that the US can do is to manage the rise of other powers and strive for a balance between regional players (e.g., balancing India against China, Iraq against Iran). It's silly for the guy with the biggest bat on the block to cry for sympathy when someone else wants to pick up a stick.

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