In a development that is being seen as a show of strength, China has test fired a new missile that has the capability to carry 10 nuclear warheads. Experts say that this is potentially a warning from China to the United States that it will not tolerate any moves that may affect its sovereignty, especially the confrontational attitude of US over the South China Sea. It also sends a clear signal to neighboring countries in the region.
The missile, named DF-5C, was fitted with 10 multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs). These MIRVs were carrying dummy warheads, as part of the missile test. The missile was launched from the Taiyuan Space Launch Centre in Shanxi province and after its successful flight path, it landed in a desert in Western China. This new missile is an upgrade of the intercontinental ballistic missile DF-5 that was put into service in the early 1980’s.
The test flight of the new missile was closely monitored by US intelligence agencies through space satellites, as is the standard protocol with any missile launch anywhere in the world. “The [Defense Department] routinely monitors Chinese military developments and accounts for PLA capabilities in our defense plans,” Pentagon spokesman Commander Gary Ross said.
However, Chinese military authorities maintained that it was a routine test and had nothing to do with the rising tension with the US over the South China Sea.