The Chinese military has mobilised its new DF-26 nuclear-capable anti-ship intermediate-range missiles to the remote northwest plateau, presumably in response to the US destroyer's passage, the Global Times has reported, citing national broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV).
It was not clarified exactly when the missiles were mobilised nor and whether their deployment was permanent or part of a training exercise. In any case, as the Global Times emphasised, the missiles are now deployed and "capable of mobile operations across the country."
Commenting on the matter, a military observer who asked to remain anonymous explained that "even when launched from deeper inland areas of China, the DF-26 has a range far-reaching enough to cover the South China Sea."
USS McCampbell conducts FONOP near Paracel Islands on Monday. In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang says China has “registered stern complaints” with the US over the destroyer entering “without China’s permission.” https://t.co/vTLVehijEZ @USATODAY pic.twitter.com/ZsGRTqPOOd— AMTI (@AsiaMTI) 8 января 2019 г.
The People's Liberation Army Rocket Force (PLARF) commissioned the DF-26 in April 2018, and has repeatedly shown off the missiles, nicknamed the "Guam Killer" for its theoretical ability to strike the US Navy base at Guam, in military parades in Beijing and the Inner Mongolia autonomous region. The solid-fuelled missiles have an estimated operational range of 4,500 km.