06:59 GMT14 April 2021
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    Earlier this week, a US guided-missile destroyer conducted a "freedom of navigation" mission in the Paracel/Xisha Islands, which Beijing said amounted to trespassing in China's territorial waters.

    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."

    On Monday, the US Navy conducted another "freedom of navigation" mission in the South China Sea, sailing the US guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell near the Paracel Islands, also known by the Chinese as the Xisha Islands and by the Vietnamese as the Hoang Sa islands, a string of islands, reefs and banks in the South China Sea, contested by China and Vietnam, as well as Taiwan.

    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.


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    military deployment, deployment, missiles, DF-26, People's Liberation Army Rocket Force, People's Liberation Army, South China Sea, China, US
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