Russia sends cruise missiles to China for new warships
ÁÎ×Ó¹â Henry C.K.Liu ¹ù¤l¥ú
hliu at SPAMmindspring.com
Fri May 19 21:34:43 MDT 2000
May 19, 2000
Russia sends cruise missiles to China for new warships
By Bill Gertz
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Russia recently delivered the first
shipment of supersonic cruise missiles to
China for a new missile destroyer and more
of the weapons will be sent later this year,
Pentagon officials said Thursday.
The deployment of the 24 SSN-22
anti-ship cruise missiles on a Chinese
Sovremenny-class destroyer is the most
significant recent weapons development by
the People's Liberation Army (PLA) naval
forces, according to Navy officials.
The missile shipment was sent by a
manufacturer from the Pacific port of
Vladivostok to China within the past several
weeks, said officials who spoke on the
condition of anonymity.
The missiles will be deployed on China's
new Sovremenny-class guided-missile
destroyer, the first of two advanced
warships bought by the PLA navy. The first
guided-missile destroyer sailed to China
earlier this year without the sea-skimming
A second delivery of the high-speed
missiles is expected in the next several
months, the officials said.
Naval officials told The Washington
Times the cruise-missile destroyer
represents a major boost in Chinese surface
"The Sovremenny arrival is obviously
the big issue that really did change the
capability of the surface force," one official
The arrival of the first missiles, known
as Sunburns, was reported to senior officials
in intelligence reports Thursday. Details
were disclosed by two Russian news
agencies on Monday and Tuesday.
The missile delivery comes at an
awkward time for the Clinton administration
as it seeks to lobby Congress for passage of
a trade bill to help China. The president has
said improving trade relations with China
will boost U.S. national security.
The administration last month also
refused to authorize the sale to Taiwan of
four Aegis radar-equipped missile destroyers
and high-speed anti-radiation missiles that
could be used by Taiwan's forces to counter
the new warships.
Taiwan arms sales have been blocked by
pro-China officials at the White House and
State Department who fear U.S. transfers
will upset Beijing.
Russian weapons designers originally
built the SSN-22 for the Soviet Navy to use
against U.S. warships during the Cold War.
The missile has a range of between 80 and
85 miles. Its supersonic speed is what
makes the missile a major threat.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, California
Republican and sponsor of a bill to punish
Russia for the missile transfers, said the
anti-ship missiles could be used against
Americans in the future.
"The Chinese communists now have the
ability to sink American aircraft carriers and
kill thousands of Americans," Mr.
Rohrabacher said in an interview. "If they
ever decide to use these weapons, the
American people have a right to ask who's
to blame. But maybe we should ask that
question before Americans start dying."
A bill sponsored by Mr. Rohrabacher
passed the House International Relations
Committee two weeks ago that would block
any U.S. debt relief for the Russian
government if future Sunburn missile sales
are not stopped. The full House could vote
on the measure in the next several weeks.
Richard Fisher, a specialist on the
Chinese military with the Jamestown
Foundation, said Russia's delivery of the
missile weeks after the Clinton
administration's rejection of guided missile
ships to Taiwan is "a humiliation on top of a
"From Eisenhower to Bush, the
operative American policy was to promote
deterrence on the Taiwan Strait by selling
Taiwan's military a technical edge over the
PRC," Mr. Fisher said. "In the year 2000,
the Clinton administration has abandoned
this long-standing U.S. policy and has
decreased deterrence for the foreseeable
Mr. Fisher said Taiwan's navy currently
is defenseless against the supersonic cruise
missile deployed on the new Chinese
warship. "It has no defensive system that
can take out this missile besides a
pre-emptive attack on the destroyer itself,
which increases instability on the Taiwan
Strait," he said.
As for U.S. ships, any Navy ships
operating outside the protection of aircraft
carrier battle groups or Aegis ships "are
dead meat for the Sunburn."
The Navy officials said the purchase of
Russian warships and advanced missiles is
part of a buildup of naval forces by Beijing
in case it decides to use force against
Taiwan, which the communist government
views as a Chinese province.
"I don't think the Chinese military is in a
big hurry to deal with Taiwan militarily,"
one official said.
However, if a conflict erupts, China's
military leaders "recognize that if called on,
they will go, they have to go, and the
systems they are getting will have some
capability to do that," the official said.
China also has four advanced Kilo
submarines and has purchased Su-27
fighter-bombers from Moscow.
The weapons purchases are part of a
growing strategic partnership between
Moscow and Beijing, an alliance based in
part on opposition to the United States.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is
expected to visit Beijing in July as a sign of
the developing alliance.
According to the Navy officials, China's
short-term military goal is to develop or buy
the forces needed for fighting Taiwan. The
longer-term objective is to build better
command, control and communications
systems that will assist their war-fighting
capabilities, they said.
"They are focused on the Taiwan
scenario, and all their efforts have been
recently on systems that are important for
Taiwan," the official said.
Capt. Craig Quigley, a Pentagon
spokesman, recently sought to play down
the Russian warship sale as not a new
More information about the Marxism