16 September 2009

China’s Evolving Conventional Strategic Strike Capability

Mark Stokes, China’s Evolving Conventional Strategic Strike Capability: the Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile Challenge to U.S. Maritime Operations in the Western Pacific and Beyond,” Occasional Paper, (Arlington, VA: Project 2049 Institute, 14 September 2009).

Project 2049 Institute Executive Director Mark Stokes has released a new study on China’s anti-ship ballistic missile challenge, which could alter the strategic landscape in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. Authoritative Chinese writings indicate research into and development of increasingly accurate and longer range conventional strategic strike systems that could be launched from Chinese territory against land- and sea-based targets throughout the Asia-Pacific region in a crisis situation. An imminent manifestation of long term intent would be the deployment of conventional medium range ballistic missiles capable of engaging naval combatants, including aircraft carrier battle groups, in the Western Pacific Ocean.

*     *     *

… As Andrew Erickson and David Yang wrote in a seminal May 2009 U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings article, a demonstrated ASBM capability “could alter the rules in the Pacific and place U.S. Navy carrier strike groups in jeopardy.” The authors note “even the perception” that the PLA is equipped with an ASBM could have “profound consequences for deterrence, military operations, and the balance of power in the Western Pacific.” …