China has reportedly tested a new modification of its Dongfeng-5 ICBM capable of carrying a payload of 10 individual warheads. The test may indicate a shift in China’s nuclear policy or an attempt to put pressure on the Trump administration, experts say.
In the flight test of the DF-5C missile conducted in January, the rocket was fired from the Taiyuan Space Launch Center in central China and to an impact range in the western Taklamakan desert, reports the Washington Free Beacon’s senior editor, Bill Gertz, citing US defense sources.
Carrying out planned scientific tests in Chinese territory is normal practice, and the tests targeted no specific country, China’s Ministry of National Defense said in a written statement to Shenzhen TV following the Washington Free Beacon’s report about the DF-5C missile tests.
American media has kept hyping up China’s normal scientific tests, although the Chinese military has reiterated that China adopts a defensive nuclear strategy and will not change its “no first use” policy.
The Washington Free Beacon report said the U.S. will have to reevaluate China’s nuclear arsenal, and a boost in China’s nuclear arsenal to 800-1,000 warheads would likely prompt the Pentagon to increase the U.S. arsenal by taking nuclear weapons out of storage.
China may be sending a signal to the Trump administration with the test, Rick Fisher said, a senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center.
Li Wei, a professor at the People’s Liberation Army’s National Defence University told Shenzhen TV the U.S. is likely to maintain its dominant position, especially as a nuclear power. The U.S. believes China’s possession of DF-5C missiles poses some threat to its dominance.