19:42 GMT05 August 2020
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    A Chinese military spokesman has stated that the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force has completed upgrades to its ballistic missiles.

    "The survival ability and mobility of the strategic missiles of the Rocket Force are enhanced," an unnamed military expert told the Global Times on Thursday.

    A Chinese Ministry of National Defense spokesman told reporters the same day that "the Rocket Force is the core of China's strategic deterrence, the pillar to support China as a great power and the cornerstone to safeguard national security."

    "It is normal and necessary for the Rocket Force to develop and update its weaponry. And this is a normal practice of other countries to modernize their militaries," said spokesman Ren Guoqiang, adding that Beijing will "stick with the peaceful development path and pursue a defensive national defense policy."

    The spokesman did not indicate what missiles had been upgraded or if missiles that were previously in development have now become operational.

    In the closing months of 2017, Beijing's military carried out tests of its DF-17 medium range ballistic missile, one of the first ballistic missiles with a hypersonic glide vehicle. Chinese media outlets such as the People's Daily have expressed optimism that the DF-41 strategic missile, capable of carrying 10 warheads and hitting targets 7,456 miles away, would become operational in 2018.

    The DF-41 can also launch from a rail-mobile or road-mobile launcher, which is consistent with the expert's description to the Global Times of a weapon that's mobile.


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