China Activates DF-26 Missiles Following US Navy Challenge
China is making good on its promise to 'sink two aircraft carriers' following the challenge from the United States Navy. As part of this effort, China recently announced that it is activating the so-called "ship killer" missile, internally known in the Chinese army as DF-26.
The deployment of the DF-26 missile system was confirmed by the state-controlled Global Times in a recent report. The report added that the missile system will be deployed in crucial points in the South China Sea and as well as the Eastern region of Asia.
The deployment of the DF-26 missile system came in just a week after a Chinese Vice Admiral stated that the best way to counteract American operations in South East Asia is to annex disputed waterways. The Vice Admiral added that it will go as far as "sink two carriers" if need be in order to maintain its control over the region. He later said that China can stand fast by this claim thanks to the country's newly developed ballistic missile systems, the so-called DF26 "ship killer."
The deployment of the DF-26 missile system also came in just days after a U.S. warship crossed the Taiwan Strait and sailed close to the Paracel Islands, an island claimed by China, Vietnam, and Taiwan. The U.S. warship claimed that it is sailing under the international rules of the sea, an international agreement that guarantees its right to free passage over the highly disputed region.
As part of precautionary measures, China sent military aircraft and warships in order to warn the U.S. warship and order it to sail away from the disputed islands. This was confirmed by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang during a briefing earlier this week.
Many observers have noted that the decision to deploy the DF-26 missile system is a testament to China's impatience over the actions of American vessels in the region.
The Global Times reported, "The DF-26 is China's new generation of an intermediate-range ballistic missile capable of targeting medium and large ships at sea." The report added that the missile system is capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads.
While the DF-26 is an advanced missile system, there is one catch. The missile system will not be deployed on the disputed islands. Instead, China is turning it into a truck-mounted weapon which will then be position in a distant outpost. Since the missile system has a reported range of 4500km, China can safely position it deep within its borders.