FPI / July 25, 2019
China’s recent initial test of a new anti-ship ballistic missile sent a “chilling” message and spotlighted the “long-term strategic threat” posed by the communist nation, the commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said.Adm. Philip Davidson, speaking at a security conference in Aspen, Colorado on July 18, revealed that Beijing had conducted a test of a new nuclear ballistic missile after a threatening speech last month by Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe.
Wei’s remarks at a security conference in Singapore in June were “quite chilling,” Davidson said.
Within 24 hours of Wei’s speech, China “tested a new nuclear ballistic missile, not in nuclear mode necessarily,” Davidson said.
The admiral was referring to China’s test of a new submarine-launched ballistic missile known as the JL-3, security correspondent Bill Gertz noted in a July 19 report for the Washington Free Beacon.
On July 8, Wei spoke to a forum of defense ministers from Latin America and Pacific island nations in China and “admitted that China’s global development program known as Belt and Road Initiative was indeed a basis for future military expansion,” Gertz noted.
Chinese officials had previously insisted there was no military component to the multitrillion-dollar initiative.
Davidson said the Chinese defense chief made clear the initiative “was indeed a way to put a military foothold within other places around the globe.”
“Within hours of that, they shot six anti-ship ballistic missiles — new ones that they have developed — into the South China Sea,” Davidson said, adding that it was the first time the missile has been tested at sea.
Davidson did not identify the type of missile but other defense officials said they were DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missiles, a high-tech weapon capable of maneuvering to target moving ships at sea several hundred miles from launch points.
The salvo of six anti-ship ballistic missiles was denounced by the Pentagon as a violation of a 2015 pledge made by Chinese president Xi Jinping not to militarize disputed South China Sea islands.