China is testing what is considered the longest range ballistic missile in the world. The Dongfeng-41 missile is capable of being fitted with up to 10 nuclear warheads and could reach a distance of up to 8,700 miles. If testing is successful, the missile would give China the capability to reach the United State and the UK with nuclear warheads, which has sparked international concern.
The Washington Beacon reports that the Pentagon is concerned over recent ballistic missile testing being performed in China. The U.S. Strategic Command commander Adm. Cecil Haney claims that China is investing a significant amount of time and money into nuclear weapons overhauls. The latest test, which was reported to have taken place last week, was regarding the Dongfeng-41 missile. The missile is the longest range ballistic missile in the world and is capable of carrying up to 10 nuclear warheads an astonishing 7,456 miles when fully loaded. The missile’s vast long-range capabilities and China’s commitment to the stockpiling of nuclear weapons has resulted in the call for the United States to expand its own stockpile of nuclear weapons as a “deterrent.”
While China has been testing the intercontinental ballistic missiles, Pentagon officials worry the advancements will soon make their way to Iran, North Korea, and Russia. Mark Stokes, a former Pentagon specialist on the Chinese military, notes that China and Russia have been increasingly coordinating military forces in a bid to overpower the United States. This concern also flows over to North Korea and Iran, which Stokes claims are nearing “completion” of their nuclear programs thanks to help from China.
“[The Obama Administration’s policy on reducing nuclear stockpiles] is not going to be reciprocated by China, Russia, North Korea or Iran. But what is much worse is that China and Russia are increasingly coordinating their military forces against the United States and that China’s program of enabling North Korea and Iran to become nuclear missile powers is nearing completion. The U.S. must quickly reintroduce tactical nuclear forces back to the Navy and Army to enable more assured deterrence of North Korea and Iran.”
According to the Investors Business Daily, China’s move to test the Dongfeng-41 missile could spark World War III, as the United States will likely retaliate by expanding its own nuclear stockpiles. As the United States expands its own stockpiles, China will continue to expand their own and an arms race could very well begin between the two nations and their allies. It is noted that the testing of the longest range ballistic missile in the world should not be taken lightly, as the missile has the capability of reaching “all of the United States.” In other words, China would be able to target just about anyone on the planet with their new missile, even when it is fully loaded with up to 10 nuclear warheads.
Meanwhile, in the United States, President Obama has called for a “global zero” when it comes to nuclear weapons. In fact, in 2013, as China was continuing to test its nuclear capabilities and was working on the Dongfeng-41, which is now a global threat, the United States was outlining plans to reduce the U.S. nuclear stockpile by one-third via the Nuclear Posture Review Implementation Study. However, Heritage Foundation national security senior fellow Baker Spring claims that the reduction in nuclear stockpiles were premature, and that Obama did not assess the current climate regarding the United States’ need for nuclear weapons as a deterrent when making the decision.
“President Barack Obama first chose the reduced numbers in the U.S. strategic nuclear arsenal and then used the NPRIS to justify these numbers, instead of assessing U.S. requirements for deterrence first and then choosing the numbers of nuclear weapons that would meet the requirements.”
While many U.S. military officials have voiced concerns over the tests, China’s military is claiming that there is no need to fear their testing, as the country has a longstanding history of testing weapons on their own land, calling them completely “scientific.”
“It is normal for us to carry out scientific research tests in our own territory, according to our plans, and they are not aimed at any specific nations or targets.”
With China’s testing of the Dongfeng-41 and dealings with Russia and possibly North Korea and Iran, should the United States reconsider the reduction in nuclear warheads or ramp up production of the warheads as some Pentagon officials have advised?
[Photo by Andy Wong/Pool/Getty Images]