PLA MISSILE DECEPTION
People’s Liberation Army Gen. Chen Bingde, chief of the general staff, spoke publicly for the first time last week about China’s new aircraft carrier-killing antiship ballistic missile, the DF21D, and played down its development.
Gen. Chen said during a July 11 press conference that the missile was discussed during talks with Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen. He claimed the missile is “still under research-and-development process. It is not equipped yet.”
Gen. Chen then sought to minimize the significance of a missile the Pentagon has called a game-changing “area-denial” weapon designed to keep U.S. ships out of Asian waters. Hitting a ship at sea with a ballistic missile requires precise accuracy.
“Even though if, in the future, we are successful in research and development of this kind of weapons system, it will be a system for defense,” he said.
“If U.S. could reduce a bit military spending to spend more on the improvement of livelihood of the American people and also do more good things for world people, wouldn’t it be a better scenario?” Gen. Chen said, echoing similar calls from liberal-left congressional Democrats and other progressives.
To further play down China’s military, Gen. Chen said: “We are aware of the fact that what we lack most is the capability of long-distance [power] projection.”
A defense official said Gen. Chen is on the leading edge of a new PLA propaganda campaign, what the Pentagon calls “denial and deception.”
Gen. Chen’s comments were likely intended to prompt a reevaluation of China’s DF-21D by U.S. intelligence agencies that studies have shown were chronically wrong or had underestimated China’s military for at least the past two decades, caused in part by accepting disinformation aimed at fooling analysts, according to the official. stoppers were provisions Moscow likely would view as legally binding limits on pointing interceptors at Russia, and other limits on numbers and capabilities of missile defenses.
Confirmation of the scrapped June agreement that was prepared for signing by President Obama at the Group of Eight summit in Deauville, France, came from an unlikely source: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Ms. Tauscher’s main missile-defense interlocutor.
Mr. Lavrov told Russia’s staterun Rossiya 24 television on July 7 that during the Deauville summit, “We discussed, at the suggestion of the Americans, the possibility of adopting a statement in which instructions would be given regarding a number of important issues that need to be settled prior to practical cooperation [on missile defense], but then, at the request of Americans, their own initiative was recalled. Well, things like this do happen.”
Asked if she would like to revise and extend her remarks in light of the Russian minister’s statement, a State Department official said what Ms. Tauscher really meant by “fiction” were assertions that she was working on an agreement to limit missile defenses.
Bill Gertz can be reached at insidether email@example.com.