‘AWE­SOME’ NUKE SUBS

The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

Chi­nese state-run me­dia re­vealed for the first time this week that Bei­jing’s nu­clear sub­marines can at­tack Amer­i­can cities as a means to coun­ter­bal­ance U.S. nu­clear de­ter­rence in the Pa­cific.

On Mon­day, lead­ing me­dia out­lets in­clud­ing China Cen­tral TV, the Peo­ple’s Daily, the Global Times, the PLA Daily, the China Youth Daily and the Guang­min Daily ran iden­ti­cal, top-head­lined re­ports about the “awe­some­ness” of the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army navy’s strate­gic sub­ma­rine force.

“This is the first time in 42 years since the es­tab­lish­ment of our navy’s strate­gic sub­ma­rine force that we re­veal on such a large scale the se­crets of our first­gen­er­a­tion un­der­wa­ter nu­clear force,” the Global Times said in a lengthy ar­ti­cle ti­tled “China for the First Time Pos­sesses Ef­fec­tive Un­der­wa­ter Nu­clear De­ter­rence against the United States.”

The ar­ti­cle fea­tures 30 pho­tos and graph­ics de­tail­ing, among other things, dam­age pro­jec­tions for Seat­tle and Los An­ge­les af­ter be­ing hit by Chi­nese nu­clear war­heads and the deadly ra­di­a­tion that would spread all the way to Chicago.

China’s sub fleet is re­port­edly the world’s sec­ond­largest, with about 70 ves­sels. About 10 are nu­cle­ar­pow­ered, and four or more of those are nu­clear bal­lis­tic sub­marines ca­pa­ble of launch­ing mis­siles.

Heav­ily in­flu­enced by Soviet naval mod­els that stressed un­der­wa­ter forces, China’s nu­clear sub­ma­rine de­vel­op­ment be­gan with the re­verse-engineering of a Soviet Golf-class con­ven­tional-pow­ered sub in the 1950s.

In the 1980s, China de­vel­oped its first bal­lis­tic mis­sile sub, the Type 092 Xia-class, which has 12 launch tubes for the Ju­lang (Gi­ant Wave)-1 mis­siles. The JL-1 had a lim­ited range and failed mul­ti­ple test launches.

In 2010, a new class of mis­sile sub, the Type 094 Jin class, en­tered the ser­vice. It is ca­pa­ble of launch­ing 12 to 16 JL-2 mis­siles with a range of about 8,700 miles, cov­er­ing much of the con­ti­nen­tal U.S. with sin­gle or mul­ti­ple, in­de­pen­dently tar­getable re-en­try ve­hi­cle war­heads.

Chi­nese cal­cu­la­tions for nu­clear at­tacks on the U.S. are chill­ingly macabre.

“Be­cause the Mid­west states of the U.S. are sparsely pop­u­lated, in or­der to in­crease the lethal­ity, [our] nu­clear at­tacks should mainly tar­get the key cities on the West Coast of the United States, such as Seat­tle, Los An­ge­les, San Fran­cisco and San Diego,” the Global Times said.

“The 12 JL-2 nu­clear war­heads car­ried by one sin­gle Type 094 SSBN can kill and wound 5 mil­lion to 12 mil­lion Amer­i­cans,” the Global Times re­ported.

China also has de­vel­oped land-based in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­siles — no­tably the DF-31A, which has a range of 7,000 to 7,500 miles.

“If we launch our DF 31A ICBMs over the North Pole, we can eas­ily de­stroy a whole list of me­trop­o­lises on the East Coast and the New Eng­land re­gion of the U.S., in­clud­ing An­napo­lis, Philadel­phia, New York, Bos­ton, Port­land, Bal­ti­more and Nor­folk, whose pop­u­la­tion ac­counts for about one-eighth of Amer­ica’s to­tal res­i­dents,” the Global Times said.

All the state-run press re­ports stressed the point that the PLA’s mis­sile sub­marines are now on rou­tine strate­gic pa­trol, “which means that China for the first time has ac­quired the strate­gic de­ter­rence and sec­ond strike ca­pa­bil­ity against the United States.”

“Our JL-2 SLBMs have be­come the fourth type of Chi­nese nu­clear mis­siles that threaten the con­ti­nen­tal United States, af­ter our DF-31A, DF-5A and DF-5B ICBMs,” said the Global Times.

Miles Yu’s col­umn ap­pears Fri­days. He can be reached at mmilesyu@gmail and @Yu_miles.

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