Pentagon official warns China is an even bigger threat than we thought

Warnings of regional threats have largely focused on North Korea’s nuclear missile programs, and Russia’s recent unveiling of a heap of deadly new weapons.

But a top Pentagon official has just issued a new warning: China is creating advanced futuristic weapons capable of wiping out the west’s current military technology.

General Robert Ashley, Director of the US Intelligence Agency, gave a recent address on the greatest threats currently posed to the western world.

He warned that China is developing a range of deadly weapons, including long-range cruise missiles already capable of reaching supersonic speeds.

“China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is developing and fielding numerous advanced, long-range land-attack and anti-ship cruise missiles, some capable of reaching supersonic speeds, operated from ground, air, ship, and submarine platforms,” he said.

He said the rising superpower is also working on a bomber with a nuclear mission, which would give Beijing a nuclear triad of land, air and sea-based nuclear weapon systems.

The warning comes less than a week after Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled new strategic weapons that he claimed couldn’t be intercepted.

This included a hypersonic glide vehicle, which he alleged could fly 20 times faster than the speed of sound and make sharp maneuvers to avoid being detected by missile defense systems, and a much-discussed intercontinental nuclear missile.

But according to Ashley, the threat China poses is just as dire. He warned its military is developing capabilities to “dissuade, deter or defeat” any potential intervention from a third-party nation.

“China and Russia present the greatest threat of developing new military capabilities using emerging and disruptive technologies,” he said.

China’s technologies — which news.com.au has previously reported on — includes multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRV manuevering), mwarheads, decoys, chaff, jamming and thermal shielding.

It also includes hypersonic missiles, which is so troubling that a report recently recommended “the United States, Russia, and China should agree not to export complete hypersonic missile systems or their major components”.

“Developments in hypersonic propulsion wivolutionize rewarfare by providing the ability to strike targets more quickly, at greater distances, and with greater firepower,” Ashley said.

“China is also developing increasingly sophisticated ballistic missile warheads and hypersonic glide vehicles in an attempt to counter ballistic missile defense systems.”

Most worryingly, he warned the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force is capable of conducting nuclear strikes against targets as far away as Guam, which is over 4,000 kilometers from Beijing.

“These capabilities are being augmented with two new air-launched ballistic missiles, one of which may include a nuclear payload,” he warned. “The PLA Navy is developing into a global force, gradually extending its ability to sustain its operational reach beyond East Asia.”

These technologies will be incorporated into China’s silo and road-mobile intercontinental missiles, while Beijing expands the force in the size and types of missiles and the number of warheads capable of striking the United States over the next 15 years.

The Pentagon’s warning comes as China has announced it will ramp up its military spending up to 1.1 trillion yuan per year — the equivalent of $A224 billion.

The figure is a dramatic mark-up of 8.1 per cent on the previous year, and comes as China makes an effort to modernize its armed forces.

This story originally appeared in news.com.au.