In what seems to be a signal to the US, the Chinese PLA Rocket Force has held night-time rocket training drills with its DF-26 ballistic missiles, also known as ‘carrier killer’.
The DF-26 anti-ship missiles are reportedly capable of conducting precision strikes from distances as far as about 2500 miles (4000 km), according to Newsweek.
While the exact location of the exercise has been kept secret, it was a warning to foreign forces “not to meddle in China’s core interests”, Chinese military analysts told the South China Morning Post.
Needless to say, the exercise was a clear signal to the US which is throwing its weight behind Taiwan — a territory China claims as its own.
The DF-26 Missile
The DF-26 can fly farther than any other Chinese missile with a maximum range of 4000 km. It is reportedly the first and only land-based missile, which can be used for a nuclear strike or a traditional ground strike.
It is one such missile “that can strike aircraft carriers at sea, where China’s biggest threat comes from”, South China Morning Post quoted Song Zhongping, a Hong Kong-based military expert, as saying.
According to the SCMP, China Radio International stated that the purpose of the exercise was to increase the Rocket Force’s ability to transfer weapons and missiles quickly.
Rocket Force is equipped with the ability to maintain and operate the nation’s land-based conventional and nuclear missiles.
Chinese Military Drills In Full Swing
China’s regular testing of military weapons has commanded attention across the world. “We have been holding night exercises on a regular basis recently, which usually lasted past midnight.
They featured the random changes of launch positions and targets, consecutive fire strikes and relocations”, the deputy commander of the missile brigade, Col. Jiang Feng told China National Radio.
Earlier this week, the PLA Navy conducted amphibious landing exercises in the troubled waters off South China Sea’s Fujian Province, overlooking the Taiwan Island.
Such exercises were held to build a strong base for winning future battles against Taiwan secessionists, including the latest US move to send military transport aircraft to the Taiwan island, said The Global Times.
The development assumes significance given that the US on June 7 dispatched a military transport aircraft to Taipei with three US senators and 750,000 vaccine doses to provide assistance to coronavirus-hit Taiwan.
Earlier, the Chinese Defence Ministry called the US visit “extremely irresponsible”. It also said that the trip had damaged the foundation of China-US ties and the stability of the Taiwan Strait.
Beijing sent out a clear message that it would not yield to any pressure and defend its sovereignty over Taiwan “at all costs”.
In a statement concurring with the same, Defence Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said, “If anyone dares to separate Taiwan from mainland China, the People’s Liberation Army will hit back and be determined to protect national unity and territorial integrity at all costs”.
Written by Kanika Sachdeva