China touts new hypersonic missiles and drones designed to kill US ships and bases

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s military on Tuesday showed off new equipment at a parade in central Beijing to mark 70 years since the founding of the People’s Republic, including hypersonic-glide missiles that experts say could be difficult for the United States to counter.

Among the weapons were the “carrier killer” Dongfeng-21D (DF-21D), unveiled at military parade in 2015, designed to hit warships at sea at a range of up to 1,500 kilometers, and the DF-26 intermediate range missile, dubbed “Guam killer” in reference to the U.S. Pacific island base.

Nozomu Yoshitomi, professor at Japan’s Nihon University and a retired major general in Japan’s Ground Self-Defence Force, said the DF-17 posed serious questions about the effectiveness of the regional missile defense system the United States and Japan are building.

“There is a possibility that if we do not acquire a more sophisticated ballistic missile defense system, it will become impossible for both the United States and Japan to respond,” Yoshitomi said.

Bringing up the rear of the ground parade were 16 upgraded launchers carrying DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missiles, which are the backbone of China’s nuclear deterrent, capable of reaching the United States with multiple nuclear warheads.

Analysts see progress in combined operations between branches of the military and in mechanizing its forces as a shift in priorities from defending Chinese borders toward having expeditionary forces able to defend the country’s far-flung commercial and diplomatic interests.

“The message is pretty blunt. It dramatically erodes the U.S. military edge is Asia, and over the long-term, America’s military primacy in Asia is clearly under threat,” Roggeveen said.

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