Thursday, November 11, 2010
11:51 PM ASIAN DEFENCE No comments
The Chinese military’s non-nuclear missiles have “the capability to attack” and close down five of six major U.S. Air Force bases in South Korea and Japan, an unpublished government report says.China’s improved inventory of short- and medium-range missiles provides a “dramatic increase” in its ability to “inhibit” U.S. military operations in the western Pacific, according to excerpts from the draft of the 2010 annual report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission scheduled for release on Nov. 17.
China’s current force “may be sufficient” to destroy runways, parked aircraft, fuel and maintenance facilities at Osan and Kunsan air bases in South Korea, and Kadena, Misawa and Yokota bases in Japan, the report says. The facilities are within 1,100 kilometers (684 miles) of China.An upgraded missile arsenal, including a 30 percent increase in cruise missiles since last year, “poses a significant challenge to U.S. forces operating in the region,” the report says. Defense Secretary Robert Gates in June called China’s improved missile arsenal “a real concern” that also threatens U.S. aircraft carriers.