• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • "Interesting Times" and New Developments for Chinese Missile Defense

    The reportedly successful test of a Chinese anti-missile system should give US planners at DOD, Foggy Bottom, and the White House pause.

    While Chinese statements did not provide much detail, unofficial Chinese reporting strongly imply that this test involved a Hongqi (Red Flag)-9 missile. Other unofficial Chinese news sources report that the test involved intercepting a ballistic target at an altitude above 20000 meters. This, according to a Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao) report, made the interceptor better than a Patriot PAC-3.

    Much as China tested an anti-satellite system even as its diplomats claimed that China was not interested in “militarizing space,” it would seem that Chinese concerns about US missile defense developments are more a reflection of concerns about being outpaced by American technological capability than foregoing a capability. Moreover, like the ASAT test, the anti-missile test reflects a steady, ongoing program that has reached a development milestone suitable for testing systems.

    What should be of concern, however, isn’t simply that China is developing anti-missile capabilities. Indeed, only the incredibly naïve would have believed that China wasn’t interested in developing such capabilities itself. Rather, it is what China is likely to do with such a capability, once it has reached operational status. Whether aimed at India and Russia, or as part of a long-term anti-ICBM capability aimed at the United States, a China that is defended by an anti-missile system is one that would pose an even greater challenge to the United States.

    But this is where a potential diplomatic opportunity for the U.S. presents itself. A missile defense system in the hands of the Chinese is not a challenge to the U.S. if the Chinese pursue it in the context of adopting a genuinely defensive strategic posture—a posture that is not threatening either their neighbors, U.S. friends (including Taiwan) and allies, or the U.S. itself. As such, the U.S. should make it clear that it will not object to the development and deployment of missile defense systems by China if China also adopts this broader defensive, non-threatening posture. It might signal this through, for example, a reduction in the number of missiles aimed at Taiwan (as proposed by President Ma Ying-jeou).

    On the other hand, Chinese interest in anti-missile systems should give pause to the Administration’s efforts at eliminating global nuclear arms, because the Chinese continue to pursue a nuclear modernization program. If such a goal were to be seriously pursued, then at some point, the level of U.S. nuclear forces would decline to such an extent that even a moderately effective anti-missile system could seriously affect deterrence and advance China’s position to threaten others. Beijing, it would seem, is responding in deeds to the President’s words.

    It looks like 2010 will be “interesting times” for the Obama administration.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    8 Responses to "Interesting Times" and New Developments for Chinese Missile Defense

    1. Pingback: Must Know Headlines 1.13.2010 — ExposeTheMedia.com

    2. RHRT, Moopark, CA. says:

      Just to add, China is a prolific arms dealer. If they have tested this system, whose to say that a sale

      to Iran maybe in the works. At this time I don't think H. Chavez can afford to buy the system(Russian arms deal in the works), yet the Chinese are footing the bill for a refinery in the Orinoco Oil fields. The current US Foreign Policy is so weak at this time, that China can do anything

      it wants in improving military technologies. We are in big trouble.

    3. Zelda, MN says:

      Anyone who believes that this is not aimed at the US does not know the Chinese. All of their military is pointed towards war with us. However, once the Marx-a-crats get finnished, maybe there won't be much left to go to war with?

    4. philip hilliker says:

      It's time that the democrats and the Obama for get their self centered attuted and start thinking of the security of our country ,and supplying our miltary with wepoens and the support they need to defend our country.Since China, Russia,and Iran for examples who are willing to make war agianst us as they are improveing and adding to their arsnels of wepoens. While we deplete our wepeon systems and lack the will to secure or defend our country we can not defend with talk alone

    5. Pingback: China vents anger with missile test « Mohammed Abbasi

    6. Pingback: China vents anger with missile test | oolaah

    7. A Chinese, MO says:

      Why do you guys assume that China would like to have a war with the US? Well, anyway the Chinese government has a stupid not-to-use-nuke-first policy. Man, don't be so aggressive since you have to save some money for food, housing and women.

    8. John Smith, Toronto says:

      Nobody wants to attack the US, Just get out of the way and let China and Taiwan to sort out their issues. The problems between those two parties have nothing to do with the US. At the same time does the US have learnt enough in the Korea and Vietnam wars? During that two wars the foes of the US were poorly equipped, even that the US soldiers paid heavily. Please tune it down, don't risk somebody’s life and your women and children for the sack of your big ego.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.