Chinese Missiles Could Destroy Most U.S. Outposts in Asia, Report Finds
Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2010
China has the ability to decimate five of the United States’ six military outposts in Asia with repeated missile assaults, according to an annual congressional report on Chinese-U.S. ties released today (see GSN, Oct. 7).
“The main implication of China’s improved air and conventional missile capabilities is a dramatic increase in the (People’s Liberation Army’s) ability to inhibit U.S. military operations in the region,” according to a near-complete draft of the report viewed by the Washington Times.
The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission 2010 report warns that a potential confrontation with Beijing over Taiwan could lead to Chinese missile assaults on U.S. ships and bases.
With a distance of 1,800 miles from China, Guam is the only U.S. base in Asia that is safe from such a missile attack, according to the report. However, China’s buildup of its long-range bomber aircraft fleet means that Guam could “soon” be within targeting range, the report asserts.
Currently within missile strike range are the two U.S. Air Force bases in South Korea — Kunsan and Osan. They could each be wiped out by an attack with 350 cruise missiles and 480 short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, according to the report. About 240 to 400 miles separate the bases from China.
Three bases in Japan — at Yokota, Misawa and Kadena, situated 525 to 680 miles from China — could be destroyed with 350 cruise missiles and 80 short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, the document states.
U.S. aircraft in Asia are also vulnerable to a Chinese missile strike, according to the report.
Over the last two decades, China’s naval and missile wings have evolved completely from an outmoded force to “one with modern aircraft and air defenses and a large, growing arsenal of conventional ballistic and land-attack cruise missiles,” the authors stated.
China is not only augmenting its stockpile of missiles but also furthering their reach, boosting their accuracy and building up their explosive power, the report says.
The East Asian power is estimated to possess 1,150 short-range missiles that can travel from 180 to 375 miles and 115 medium-range missiles that can strike targets at distances of 1,000 to 1,800 miles.
China is also said to be in the “testing phase” of its DF-21C, a medium-range ballistic missile developed to strike deployed U.S. aircraft carriers (Bill Gertz, Washington Times, Nov. 14).