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Chinese Missiles Aimed At Nowhere
by James Dunnigan
February 3, 2009

China has announced that its nuclear armed ballistic missiles are not aimed at anyone. Like most countries, China has long refused to say who its nuclear armed missiles are armed at. Most of those missiles only have enough range to hit Russia, or India, or other nearby nations. For a long time, most were very definitely aimed at Russia, which had rocky relations with China from the 1960s to the 1990s. But after the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, the new, much smaller, Russia became much friendlier with the wealthier (more capitalist, but still run by communists) China. Relations between China and India also warmed up.

For the last two decades China has had about two dozen DF-5 ICBMs. These are their only missiles that can reach the United States (but only Hawaii and Alaska and the west coast of North America). But the U.S. has recently installed 18 ICBM interceptor missile systems in Alaska. There are to deal with North Korean missiles, but could also destroy most Chinese missiles headed for the western United States. Thus it makes sense for China to simply say that it is not aiming any of its missiles at anyone. Modern guidance systems can be quickly (in less than an hour) programmed for a new target, so it doesn't really matter that, normally, the missiles have no target information in them.

 


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