Beijing: China needs a “carrier-killer” missile deterrent as a counter-balance to US naval supremacy in the Pacific, the state-controlled press said Monday.
“China undoubtedly needs to build a highly credible anti-carrier capability,” the Global Times said in an editorial.
“Not only does China need an anti-ship ballistic missile, but also other carrier-killing measures,” added the paper, which is published by the People’s Daily, print mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party.
“Since US aircraft carrier battle groups in the Pacific constitute deterrence against China’s strategic interests, China has to possess the capacity to counterbalance,” it said.
US military analysts have warned China is developing a new version of its Dongfeng 21 missile that could pierce the defences of even the most sturdy US naval vessels and has a range of 20,000 kilometres (12,400 miles) — far beyond Chinese waters.
Washington has expressed rising concern over China’s military intentions following a string of double-digit increases in Chinese military spending and a rapid modernisation of its armed forces.
China has bristled at the idea of a US aircraft carrier group patrolling waters near its coast and has voiced opposition to the US dispatching such vessels during ongoing joint military exercises with South Korea.
The US Defence Department last month said China had continued building up its military strength in the Taiwan Strait despite better ties with the China-friendly government in Taipei, which took power in 2008.
The Pentagon said Beijing was ramping up investment in a range of areas including nuclear weapons, long-range missiles, submarines, aircraft carriers and cyber warfare.
Many analysts say China’s military build-up is aimed primarily at winning a possible war with the United States over Taiwan. Beijing claims the self-ruled island as its own territory.
China has rejected the concerns, saying its military upgrading was aimed merely at self-defence and that the country’s armed forces posed no threat to any other countries.