China’s People’s Liberation Army officials made a big show out of claiming that they had emerged victoriously from President Obama’s confrontation in the South China Sea last week. The Chinese military said in a statement that they had successfully faced down the aggressive acts of Obama in area of the Parcel Islands which China claims as its sovereign territory despite claims by several other nations in the area.
Last month, a case in the international court in The Hague brought by the Philippians against China for illegally constructing man-made islands in the area was decided in the Philippians favor, but China has refused to accept that ruling. Over the last two years, President Obama has ordered numerous cruses by United States military vessels in an effort to “Show the flag” and maintain “Freedom of the Seas” despite China’s claim to exclusive ownership of the area.
On the 28th of November, China’s military conducted a test of some of their newest missiles conducting a salvo launch of 10 missile in a show of force during the transition to the Donald Trump administration. Chinese state media reported Thursday that the simultaneous flight tests of 10 DF-21 intermediate-range ballistic missiles were carried out in China. In a rather overt threat, the report went on to say that the missiles “can destroy U.S. Asia-Pacific bases at any time,” according to the dispatch from the official Xinhua news agency.
Disclosure of the missile salvo launch comes as Trump announced on Thursday that he will nominate retired Marine Corps. Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis as his defense secretary. Mattis is one of the Corps’ most celebrated warfighting generals. The Xinhua News Agency also reported that the DF-21 is comparable to the U.S. Pershing II intermediate-range missile that used a two-stage rocket and aerodynamic reentry vehicle. The Pershing II was dismantled under the U.S.-Russian INF treaty.
A Chinese military expert, Rick Fisher, confirmed the missile tests involved the DF-21C variant of the missile. Fisher, a senior fellow with the International Assessment and Strategy Center, also noted that the missile test came as China is conducting large-scale naval exercises. “Obviously, the Chinese are banging some drums to provide background for military psychological warfare,” Fisher said. For the last eight years they have done pretty much as they pleased, and they are trying to set the stage in such a way as they will be able to continue that activity under a Trump administration.
The DF-21 is the basis for several types of missiles, including the anti-ship variant known as the DF-21D. Another version is believed to be part of China’s anti-satellite arsenal. The DF-21C used in the salvo launch, is a land-attack maneuvering missile with a range of about 1,000 miles. It is also capable of firing a maneuvering warhead.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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