Where Are The Arms Controllers On Anti-Ship Ballistic Missiles?

Posted: September 8, 2010 in Uncategorized
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China's DF-21

As you might imagine, China is not a party to The Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles, which is better known as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

INF does not allow the U.S. or Russia to field either nuclear or conventional ground launched ballistic or land attack cruise missiles with intermediate ranges.  Intermediate ranges are treaty-defined as 500 to 5,500km.

As such, China is treaty unconstrained in the development of whatever sorts of weapons they think will serve their needs, to include the approximately 1600 ballistic missiles they have aimed at Taiwan.  Such freedom of action also allows China to develop an anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) capability while the INF treaty prohibits both Russia and the U.S. from creating such a capacity.

Now, given all the angst and gnashing of teeth regarding the New START treaty, you would think there’d be more noise–actually some noise–from the arms control community regarding China’s emergent ASBM capability, which the U.S. and Russia have decided to forego.  China’s ASBM has been described as the ‘carrier killer’ and is thought to be nearly or perhaps already operational.

So, with New START still pending Senate action, the arms controllers and ‘international institution’ communities seem curiously mute and non-multi-tasking on the serious issue of Chinese anti-ship ballistic missiles.

China wants to be a player, but players have to…well, they have to play.  ASBMs aren’t playing.

  1. TheRoccoHeadedObserver says:

    Well said. While Russia should be the primary focus regarding inventory levels and overall capabilities of ballistic missiles (and relations with non-friendly countries), China is definitely at the level necessary to be subject to international security and responsibility.

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