On April 25th, Reuters published a repot called “The China Challenge: Rocket Man.” It is largely based on commonly known facts, as well as citing of unnamed sources.
“Under Xi Jinping, Beijing has elevated its missile forces to a point where many rockets in the Chinese arsenal now rival or outperform those of the United States. This dramatic shift could render American carriers – the backbone of U.S. military supremacy – obsolete in a conflict with China,” the report begins.
It initially reminds of a November 2018 air show in the city of Zhuhai, during which the biggest state-owned missile maker, China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation Ltd, screened an animation showing a hostile “blue force,” comprising an aircraft carrier, escort ships and strike aircraft, approaching “red force” territory.
The presumably “American” strike group was devastated by Chinese missiles.
According to Reuters, “almost all categories of these weapons, based on land, loaded on strike aircraft or deployed on warships and submarines, China’s missiles rival or outperform their counterparts in the armories of the United States and its allies, according to current and former U.S. military officers with knowledge of PLA test launches, Taiwanese and Chinese military analysts, and technical specifications published in China’s state-controlled media.”
The US allegedly was at even greater disadvantage because of the INF Treaty. China wasn’t a part of it and was deploying missiles with a range between 500 and 5,500 km “in massive numbers.”
Notably, the carrier killer missiles DF-21D fall in that group. The missile can target warships at a range of up to 1,500 km.
“If effective, these missiles would give China a destructive capability no other military can boast.”
Namely, to strike a US aircraft carrier if it is deployed quite close to its shores. There is also significant progress in developing hypersonic technology, in which the US appears to be lagging behind Russia and China.
Unsurprisingly, China’s Ministry of National Defense and China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation did not respond to questions from Reuters about Beijing’s missile capabilities.
It is also a fact that the Chinese missile arsenal hasn’t been tested in a real-world scenario and Chinese official play down its capabilities. Despite that the Trump-administration and MSM have been, for a while, painting China as a on-par competitor, mostly to use fearmongering as an effective strategy to increase defense funding.
“We know that China has the most advanced ballistic missile force in the world,” said James Fanell, a retired U.S. Navy captain and former senior intelligence officer with the U.S. Pacific Fleet. “They have the capacity to overwhelm the defensive systems we are pursuing.” Fanell, during the Obama administration was sidelined, because the US was seeking closer ties with China, but now under Trump it appears that antagonism with Beijing is back on the agenda.
Even Reuters’ anonymous Chinese sources, six of them also downplayed the threat played by Beijing’s missile arsenal.
“We cannot defeat the United States at sea,” a retired PLA colonel said in an interview. The United States has 11 aircraft carriers and China has just two. “But we have missiles that specifically target aircraft carriers to stop them from approaching our territorial waters if there were conflict.”
A person with ties to the Chinese leadership who once served in the military had a similar message:
“If U.S. aircraft carriers come too close to our coastlines in a conflict, our missiles can destroy them.”
“If we were truly more advanced than the United States, we would have liberated Taiwan,” a Chinese military analyst said.
The report also reminded that Chinese President Xi Jinping played a pivotal role in the “ascendancy of the Chinese missile forces.” He described the missile forces as a “core of strategic deterrence, a strategic buttress to the country’s position as a major power and a cornerstone on which to build national security.”
This is presented as an action by Beijing aimed at simply growing its power to be able to stand against the US, which wasn’t at all warranted. It completely disregards the US continuous patrols and antagonism of China on almost every front in recent years.
Of course, subterfuge could also be employed by China and they could simply be downplaying its missile capabilities to lull the US into a false sense of complacency.
“U.S. missiles are superior to ours in terms of quality and quantity,” the former anonymous PLA colonel told Reuters.
“What makes Chinese missiles so dangerous for the United States and its Asian allies is that the PLA is winning the “range war,” according to Robert Haddick, a former U.S. Marine Corps officer and now a visiting senior fellow at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies based in Arlington, Virginia. While the United States was taking what Haddick describes as a “long holiday” from missile development in the aftermath of the Cold War, China was shooting for distance, developing missiles that can fly further than those in the armories of the United States and its Asian allies.”
This one was of the factors named by the US to justify its decision to leave the INF. China criticized Trump’s announcement.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang saying the treaty was important in “safeguarding global strategic balance and stability.” Geng, however, didn’t mention the PLA’s own arsenal of these weapons or that China itself isn’t party to the pact. He said China opposed negotiating a new treaty that would cover other nations as well as Russia and the US.
Regardless, the US must not “wrestle back” the range war, so it can win back the advantage.
“According to U.S. and other Western estimates, China has about 2,000 conventional missiles that would fall within the terms of the INF missile treaty – enough to launch saturation attacks on air bases, ports or critical infrastructure in Japan, South Korea or Taiwan.”
The Harpoon anti-ship missiles the US uses are, of course, subpar.
Finally, the Reuters investigation alleged that China may carry out a “Pearl Harbor-style attack.”
China was apparently testing its missile capabilities on mock runways and other military infrastructure.
“In one, the distinctive shape of a jet fighter is clearly visible on what appears to be a mock airstrip in a remote Chinese desert. The images, captured in mid-2013 over the far west of China, show the outline of a delta-wing aircraft at the southern end of the runway. Images taken in late 2016 tell a different story. The wings and tail section are strewn at odd angles in a pile of wreckage.”
According to a 2017 report from two U.S. Navy officers, Commander Thomas Shugart and Commander Javier Gonzalez a mock target in China resembled the inner harbor at Yokosuka base, where the USS Ronald Reagan and its battle group are stationed.
According to them, the mock target replays the Pearl Harbor attack from Japan. But the Japanese didn’t sink the aircraft carrier, however in the “red vs blue” video from November it is shown that the Chinese missile successfully sank the enemy carrier. With the sign “The defensive counter-attack operation has gotten the expected results,” coming up.
The entire “investigative” report builds on the MSM narrative of villainizing China in addition to Russia. It uses commonly known facts and publicly available information to paint a picture of China preparing to carry out a frightening attack on the US, when in fact it is much more likely that Beijing is preparing its forces to respond in the case of Washington’s agressive actions.