The following is based on reports in Chinese media, with commentary:
According to the report, it was the third test launche of China’s newest ICBM DF-41 that has a range of 7,486 miles enough to reach anywhere in the United States. However, the report says that the MIRV technology was not tested in the two previous tests.
The successful test of the DF-41 with MIRV technology is a breakthrough in China’s development of strategic nuclear weapons. Now, the entire United States is vulnerable to China’s strategic nuclear weapons, difficult to intercept due to MIRV.
According to the report, a DF-41 can carry 10 MIRV warheads.
Moreover, China has been updating its DF-5 and DF-31A ICBMs to enable them to carry MIRV warheads. In September 2013, China tested another long-range ICBM DF-31B that is also capable of carrying MIRV warheads.
In its report on the test, SCMP quotes Macau-based military expert Antony Wong Dong as saying that Chinese President Xi Jinping was taking a more confrontational military stance on the global stage as part of a wider strategy to consolidate allegiance within the military.
SCMP says, “‘Xi is facing a certain resistance in dealing with the massive corruption problem in the PLA,’ Wong said. ‘With challenging international political tension, the army would be forced to listen to him, just like during the eras of his predecessors, Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.’”
I believe that tests of advanced weapons have nothing to do with Xi forcing the military to obey him. It is a part of China’s arms race with the US that began when Hu Jintao was in charge. Hu began the arms race with the US due to the US “pivot to Asia” to encircle China (see my previous posts on the arms race and South China Sea disputes).
China’s tests of ICBMs, hypersonic weapons, stealth aircrafts and other weapons are, in fact, parts of Xi’s Chinese dream that means making China militarily strong. As pointed out in my book Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Expanded 2nd Edition, Xi uses the Chinese Dream to put an end to the fierce power struggle between reformists and the conservatives headed by Bo Xilai, and rallies both reformists and conservatives around him so that he will be able to carry out his thorough reform smoothly.
However, what Xi has been doing makes US military dominance precarious, especially when US has been heightening pressure on Russia that makes Putin mad in intensifying his efforts in weapon development, and strengthening his alliance with China.
Source: mil.huanqiu.com “US says China launched DF-41 ICBM again with great breakthrough in testing MIRV for the first time” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
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Categories: Defence & Aerospace