Beijing, Dec 29 (ANI): U.S. Navy Admiral Robert F. Willard has warned that China is designing a space missile that could sink American aircraft carriers in the Pacific.
The Daily Mail quoted Willard as saying that he believes the Chinese anti-ship ballistic missile programme has achieved 'initial operational capability.'
Stressing that China wants to become a 'global military power' and aspires to extend its influence further than their 'near seas', Willard said: "In the capabilities that we're seeing develop, that is fairly obvious."
Known among defence analysts as a 'carrier killer,' the Dong Feng 21D missile would be a game-changer in the Asian security environment, where U.S. Navy aircraft carriers have ruled the waves since the end of World War II, the paper said.
The news increased tension between the US and China as concerns grew that Beijing is boosting its military strength.
Meanwhile, Chinese military sources said that they would launch their first aircraft carrier next year - a year earlier than anticipated by U.S. experts.
However, China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Jiang Yu, insisted that Beijing's military pursues a defensive national policy, saying: "We pose no threat to other countries."
The paper quoted some experts as saying that the system requires state-of-the-art guidance systems, and it will take China a decade or so to field a reliable threat.
The missile is considered a key component of China's strategy of denying U.S. planes and ships access to waters off its coast. At its most capable, the DF 21D could be launched from land with enough accuracy to penetrate the defenses of even the most advanced moving aircraft carrier at a distance of more than 900 miles.
That could seriously weaken Washington's ability to intervene in any potential conflict over Taiwan or North Korea, as well as deny U.S. ships safe access to international waters near China's 11,200-mile-long coastline, the paper added. (ANI)