CHINA has deployed its most advanced hypersonic missile to its coastal areas near Taiwan to ‘prepare for a possible invasion’ of the island, a report has revealed.
Beijing’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been stepping up militarisation in the regions of Fujian and Zhejiang by placing its top-secret DF-17 missile in the area, according to The South China Morning Post, quoting an anonymous military source.
The news comes as the Chinese military has boasted about its combat capabilities and conducted live-fire drills amid rising tensions between China and self-ruled Taiwan, which Beijing considers as its own.
The DF-17 is a medium-range ballistic missile which delivers a hypersonic glide vehicle, was officially unveiled during China’s National Day military parade on October 1, 2019.
The weapon has a maximum range of 2,500 kilometres (1,550 miles) and is capable of achieving speeds of up to 7,680 miles per hour (12,360 kph) – or 10 times the speed of sound – while carrying a nuclear warhead, according to previous reports.
The news caused fears in Taiwan as local media suggested that the DF-17 could enable the PLA to directly attack the island’s air force bases.
Reports also noted that Beijing had been deploying J-20 stealth fighter jets and Marine Corps units to its military base in Guangdong as preparation of a possible invasion.