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01:39 PM, January 22, 2019
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DF-41 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile

China’s People's Liberation Army (PLA) Rocket Force conducted a simulated intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) strike mission from an underground bunker against an imaginary enemy.

China Central Television (CCTV) did not disclose details on the location and time of the exercise. Long-term survival training in closed environments has become routine for the troops to ensure counterattack capability in case a war breaks out, the report said.

China's strategic missiles are usually placed in deep, protective bunkers, Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator was quoted as saying by Global Times on Tuesday.

China's strategic missile storage facilities must be able to survive the first wave of hostile nuclear strike, Song said, noting that the underground bunkers are invaluable in protecting Chinese missiles from being destroyed and prepare for counterattacks.

Song said the three generations of ICBMs could be the DF-5, DF-31 and DF-41, all of which are capable of striking targets more than 10,000 kilometers away with a deviation of less than a few dozen meters, carrying single or multiple thermonuclear warheads.

The DF-41, China's mysterious and most advanced ICBM, might make its public debut on October 1, the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China's founding, as a military parade is expected to be held in Beijing on that day, Song said.

An ICBM loaded with nuclear warheads will likely never be used as it would precipitate an all-out nuclear war, say analysts. The weapon's primary purpose is deterrence, and to facilitate political and diplomatic discussions.

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