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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


Central News Agency

2007-06-14 13:10:48

    Washington, June 13 (CNA) China's missile programs are posing challenges to the United States and are changing the status quo across the Taiwan Strait, a Pentagon official said Wednesday.

    Richard Lawless, deputy undersecretary of defense for Asia and Pacific affairs, made the remarks while answering questions during a House Arms Services Committee hearing on China's recent security developments.

    Citing an annual report on China's military power released last month, Lawless noted that there are at least 10 varieties of ballistic missiles deployed or in development in China, including over 900 short-range ballistic missiles in garrisons opposite Taiwan with a capability of threatening Taiwan's defense and disrupting the island's infrastructure. "I think that these are challenges that are being presented to our ballistic missile programs, " Lawless said, adding that this year's military power report discusses the threat facing Taiwan and how the United States believes the threat is changing the cross-strait status quo and creating a new dynamic in the region.

    Lawless said China has made substantial progress in fielding road-mobile, solid-propellant DF-31 intercontinental-range ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and continued modernization of its sea-based deterrent with the JL-2 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) program. "These changes will bring greater range, mobility, accuracy and survivability to China's strategic forces capable of striking many areas of the world, including the continental United States, " Lawless said.

    He said China's armed forces are rapidly developing capabilities designed to coerce or compel a settlement of the cross-strait dispute while simultaneously deterring, delaying or denying effective intervention from a third party, including the United States.

    Long-term trends also suggest that Beijing is generating capabilities to employ military force for other regional contingencies, such as conflict over resources or territory, he said.

    While China's nuclear force modernization is enhancing the People's Liberation Army's capabilities for strategic strikes beyond the Asia-Pacific theater, China's continued pursuit of anti-access and area denial strategies is expanding from traditional land, sea and air dimensions of the modern battlefield to include space and cyber space, Lawless said.

(By Chiehyu Lin and Y.F. Low)


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