The Chinese media on Sunday played up possessing indigenous ‘killer weapons’ like DF-21D and DF-26 anti-ship ballistic missiles ‘designed to sink aircraft carriers’ as United States sends three of its own ships close to Chinese territorial waters.
Beijing could counter Washington’s ‘hegemonic politics’ by enhancing its own war preparedness, holding drills and flexing military muscles, Chinese experts noted.
The US Navy carriers, namely the USS Theodore Roosevelt, USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan, together with other US naval warships and aircraft, are patrolling the Indo-Pacific waters.
The move comes as US-China tensions bubble over topics like COVID-19, Hong Kong's national security law and the South China Sea. Last deployment of these many US warships in the region was three years ago.
While the medium-range DF-21D can cover the First Island Chain, the intermediate-range DF-26 missile can strike targets at Guam. These missiles can attack medium-sized to large surface vessels from above at very high speeds, making them difficult to intercept, according to publicly available information.
“By massing these aircraft carriers, the US is attempting to demonstrate to the whole region and even the world that it remains the most powerful naval force, as they could enter the South China Sea and threaten Chinese troops on the Xisha and Nansha islands as well as vessels passing through nearby waters, so the US could carry out its hegemonic politics,” Li Jie, a Beijing-based naval expert, was quoted as saying by Global Times on Sunday.
All three US Navy carriers were hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving the western Pacific region with no carriers for two months. “I doubt the ships’ combat readiness. In this situation, it is also possible that another COVID-19 outbreak will take place on the US carriers,” Li added.