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China tests ballistic missiles, US expands missile defenses in Asia-Pacific

(People's Daily Online)

08:27, September 13, 2012

Translated by People's Daily Online

There have been many foreign media reports lately about China testing its Dongfeng-41 missiles capable of reaching any spot in the United States, and rumor has it that China's JL-2 missiles may reach initial operational capability by 2014. These reports offer the United States a reasonable excuse to accelerate the deployment of its missile defense system in the Asia-Pacific region.

U.S. defense officials said last month that a centerpiece of the country's plan of expanding missile defenses in Asia would be the deployment of two powerful early-warning radars, known as X-Bands, in South and North Asia respectively. After integrating the missile defense forces of its Asian allies, the United States seems ready to further promote its missile defense system covering the entire Asia-Pacific region.

Anti-ballistic missile systems

The U.S. missile defense system is mainly designed to intercept ballistic missiles because it is easy to shoot down cruise missiles even using small arms. The United States began developing anti-ballistic missile weapons after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Ballistic missiles were the only weapons that posed a threat to the U.S. troops in the Gulf War.

"After the Gulf War, tactical ballistic missiles with ranges less than 300 kilometers are seldom a threat to the United States," said military commentator Zhu Jiangming.

The three most known short-range tactical anti-ballistic missile systems that are currently operational include the U.S. Army Patriot, U.S. Navy Aegis combat system, and the Israeli Arrow missile.

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