Capable of hitting targets 3,400 miles away, China’s “Guam killer” missile is raising new fears of a growing Chinese threat to major U.S. military installations and stability in the Pacific Rim.
A congressional panel has issued a report warning of the dangers of the missile, during a week in which U.S.-China tensions flared anew with a U.S. Navy destroyer sailing close to a Chinese-claimed island in the South China Sea.
The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission said this week that China’s DF-26 intermediate-range ballistic missile — dubbed by analysts the “Guam killer” and unveiled at a military parade in Beijing last September — allows China to bring unprecedented firepower to bear on the U.S. territory of Guam. The territory sits well within the missile’s range.
“Foremost among China’s military assets capable of reaching Guam, the DF-26 IRBM represents the culmination of decades of advancements to China’s conventional ballistic missile forces,” the commission’s report says.
While the current state of Chinese guidance technology makes any threat low at the moment, the report noted that “China’s commitment to continuing to modernize its strike capabilities indicates the risk will likely grow going forward.”
The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission was established by Congress in 2000 to look at issues between the two Pacific powers. It is required to submit an annual report to Congress on U.S.-China relations and advise Congress on possible legislative and administration actions.
Guam, home to Andersen Air Force Base and Apra Naval Base, has been as a place from where the U.S. could project power across the Pacific while having its forces at relatively safe distance from possible threats, including North Korea and China.
A report from the RAND Corporation think tank prepared before the Chinese military parade last year called Andersen the “only U.S. base in the Western Pacific not currently threatened by conventional ballistic missiles.”