Moving ahead with its nuclear capabilities, China has reportedly tested a new version of a ballistic missile, that has a capability to carry 10 warheads at a time.
According to an American media report, the testing of the missile DF-5C was carried out last month in which 10 multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles or MIRVs were used. Moreover, the test of the warheads was monitored closely by the US intelligence agencies, as reported.
The ballistic missile tested is a new variant of the DF-5 ballistic missile that was brought in action in the 1980s. The report stated that the missile carrying 10 dummy warheads, named as Dongfeng-5C, was launched from the Taiyuan Space Launch Centre in Shanxi province, and flew to a desert in western China. However, it is supposed that if the tests have been carried out with 1o0 warheads, then the actual number could be higher.
The Amerian media reports quoted Pentagon spokesman Commander Gary Ross’s words who said,”The Chinese military developments are under Defence Department’s observation for our defence plans.”
The US intelligence reports have earlier mentioned that China started adding warheads to older DF-5 missiles in February last year. US defence officials have previously warned that China’s rapid development of long-range ballistic missiles, coupled with a lack of transparency about its nuclear capabilities, could bring uncertainty to stability in the region.
On one hand, the Chinese missile testing took place while on the other, Donald Trump swore-in as the 45th President of the United States who has signalled a tougher stance against China over various issues, from the trade deficit to Beijing’s military build-up in the disputed South-China Sea.
China, in its favour, clarified that the missile testing had nothing to do with the new American President and it was a scheduled flight test. A Chinese defence expert said,”The test of a nuclear missile requires permission from the highest level – the Central Military Commission. It takes at least one year for the military to get the approval and to prepare for it.”