China Flight-Tests 10 DF-21 Missiles

Show of force comes amid transition to Trump

DF-21 salvo launch

DF-21 salvo launch

BY:

China's military conducted a salvo of 10 missile flight tests late last month 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.

The missiles "can destroy U.S. Asia-Pacific bases at any time," the dispatch from the official Xinhua news agency reported.

The flight tests were disclosed by China Central Television on Nov. 28 and coincide with President-elect Donald Trump's high-profile announcements of new senior government officials.

Disclosure of the missile salvo launch comes as Trump announced on Thursday that he will nominate retired Marine Corps. Gen. James Mattis as his defense secretary. Mattis is one of the Corps' most celebrated warfighting generals.

Xinhua 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.

Rick Fisher, a China military expert, 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.

"The PLA is banging some drums to provide background for military psychological warfare," Fisher said.

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 is a land-attack maneuvering missile with a range of about 1,000 miles.

It is also capable of firing a maneuvering warhead.

Bill Gertz   Email Bill | Full Bio | RSS
Bill Gertz is senior editor of the Washington Free Beacon. Prior to joining the Beacon he was a national security reporter, editor, and columnist for 27 years at the Washington Times. Bill is the author of seven books, four of which were national bestsellers. His most recent book was iWar: War and Peace in the Information Age, a look at information warfare in its many forms and the enemies that are waging it. Bill has an international reputation. Vyachaslav Trubnikov, head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, once called him a “tool of the CIA” after he wrote an article exposing Russian intelligence operations in the Balkans. A senior CIA official once threatened to have a cruise missile fired at his desk after he wrote a column critical of the CIA’s analysis of China. And China’s communist government has criticized him for news reports exposing China’s weapons and missile sales to rogue states. The state-run Xinhua news agency in 2006 identified Bill as the No. 1 “anti-China expert” in the world. Bill insists he is very much pro-China—pro-Chinese people and opposed to the communist system. Former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld once told him: “You are drilling holes in the Pentagon and sucking out information.” His Twitter handle is @BillGertz.

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