Chinese missiles can hit US bases in Asia

China can hit five out of six US bases in Asia with a wave of missiles in the event of a military confrontation, a US Congressional report says.

Washington: China can hit five out of six US bases in Asia with a wave of missiles in the event of a military confrontation, a US Congressional report says.

According to the Washington Times, a late draft of the report by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission says: "The main implication of China`s improved air and conventional missile capabilities is a dramatic increase in the (People`s Liberation Army`s) ability to inhibit US military operations in the region."

The US also could face a Chinese missile strike on its bases and ships in a future conflict with China over Taiwan, Monday`s edition of the paper quoted the report as saying Wednesday.

In addition to missiles, the Chinese military build-up includes major deployments and upgrades of Chinese jets that have increased ranges and better weapons as well as greatly improved air defences.

The US bases vulnerable to Chinese missile attack include two in South Korea, Osan and Kunsan air bases, the report says.

Each could be destroyed with attacks by 480 short- and medium-range ballistic missiles and 350 ground-launched cruise missiles.

The bases are some 380-640 km from China, the Washington Times said.

In Japan, US bases at Kadena, Misawa and Yokota could be knocked out with 80 medium- and short-range ballistic missiles and 350 ground-launched cruise missiles, the report says.

These bases are between 840 and 1,000 km from China.

The report says that in the event of a conflict, Guam, in western Pacific Ocean, is the only exception because it is 2,800 km from China.

China`s growing long-range bomber arsenal, however, means the "PLA Air Force`s bomber fleet soon could allow it to target Guam, where the sixth US Air Force base is located," the report says.

Guam is the site of a major US military buildup in Asia, with the addition of new submarines and bombers and spy aircraft.

"Not only would US bases be threatened in the event of a conflict with China but so too would US deployed aircraft," the report says.

The draft report has been disclosed as tensions in Asia intensify over growing assertiveness by the Chinese military in the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea and the South China Sea.

For the past 20 years, China`s missile and naval forces have been transformed from an outdated military to "one with modern aircraft and air defenses and a large, growing arsenal of conventional ballistic and land-attack cruise missiles", the report says.

Since 2000, for example, Chinese short-range missile forces alone increased from a brigade of up to 36 launchers to as many as 252 today, the report states.

Additionally, China now has up to 500 DH-10 land-attack cruise missiles with ranges of up to 1,500 km. A second, new cruise missile, the YJ-63, is deployed and has a range of more than 200 km.

"In addition to increasing the number of missiles, China is also extending their range, improving their accuracy, and increasing their payload," the report says.

China is thought to have 1,150 short-range missiles with ranges between 280 and 600 km and 115 medium-range missiles with ranges between 1,600 and 2,900 km.

IANS

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