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Graphic shows military balance in First and Second Island Chain.
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MILITARY

U.S. plans anti-China missile array for Western Pacific

By Jordi Bou

March 10, 2021 - The U.S. is planning a network of long-range, land-based missiles along the First Island Chain – the string of islands enclosing China’s coastal seas – to boost its deterrence against Beijing.

A budget document provided to Congress last month by the Indo-Pacific Command said the U.S. needed increased ground-based weapons along the First Island Chain, which would cost $408 million in fiscal year 2022 alone and $2.9 billion from fiscal years 2023 to 2027.

China has more than 1,250 ground-launched missiles with ranges of 500-5,500km. The U.S. has none but it is free to resume production
following its withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in 2019.

The U.S. has around 132,000 troops stationed across the Indo-Pacific theatre, with 28,000 garrisoning South Korea and another 55,000 at several bases across Japan.

China’s military executed a coordinated test launch of its top anti-ship ballistic missile into the South China Sea last August to send an “unmistakable message,” the head of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Admiral Phil Davidson told a Senate panel on Tuesday.

The DF-21D is central to China’s strategy of deterring any military action off its eastern coast by threatening to destroy the major sources of U.S. power projection in the region, its carrier battle groups.

Sources
PUBLISHED: 10/03/2021; STORY: Graphic News
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