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Over recent months, Beijing has shown off its military power and has continued to assert its dominance in the South China Sea. But now, fears of a World War 3 outbreak have been raised as the Communist nation continue to develop intercontinental missiles.
Thomas de Maizière, co-head of NATO’s reflection group, warned allies that they must not be “indifferent” to the potential serious threat of China.
The former German defence minister said: “China is not yet a serious military threat but a potential one.
“China is arming, albeit from a low level.
“China is developing intercontinental missiles that could reach the whole world.
“China also threatens its neighbours.
“We must not be indifferent to this.”
Last month, the US shot down a mock of an ICBM in the South China Sea region, with experts claiming it was a warning to Beijing.
Beijing-based military expert Zhou Chenming said at the time: “[The US wanted to show its] Asian allies that Washington is still able to protect them.
“The SM-3 Block IIA interceptor test could be seen as a response to China launching two ‘aircraft carrier killer’ missiles into the South China Sea.”
This marked the first time a missile interceptor had been launched from a ship at sea and hit to destroy a mock ICBM in flight.
Previous tests had used interceptors launched from underground silos across the US.
Song Zhongping, a Hong Kong-based military commentator, warned the US does not have the capability to stop Chinese missiles due to their superior manoeuvrability and rapid trace changes in flight.
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He said: “The SM-3’s capability against a DF-41 is very limited, but it would be a threat to ICBM’s developed by North Korea and Iran.
“However, the US test will spur China to step up its missile renewal programme to upgrade its old generation ballistic missiles.”
Tensions between Beijing and other countries – including the US, UK, India and Australia – have nearly reached boiling point over the last few months.
This week, Canberra joined forces with Washington to develop hypersonic missiles to counter the Communist nation.
Linda Reynolds, the Australian defence minister, called the bilateral project with the US a “game-changing capability”.
She said: “Investing in capabilities that deter actions against Australia also benefits our region, our allies and our security partners.
“We remain committed to peace and stability in the region and an open, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific.”
In a statement, the US’ Acting Under Secretary of Defence Michael Kratsios said the project builds of 15 years of collaboration between the two nations.
He said: “This initiative will be essential to the future of hypersonic research and development, ensuring the US and our allies lead the world in the advancement of this transformational warfighting capability.”
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg
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