In this special “best of ChinaPower” episode, Mr. Ankit Panda discusses China’s growing conventional missile arsenal and associated implications for military strategy and security in the Indo-Pacific region. He touches on the role of China’s ground-based missiles in the projection of military strength, noting that an increased arsenal can hamper US forces in the region and give the People’s Liberation Army increased maneuverability. Mr. Panda specifically highlights the importance of anti-ship ballistic missiles to China’s anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) strategy in areas like the South and East China Seas. He also discusses the consequences of the US withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and the political obstacles to expanding the US’ arsenal along China’s periphery. In addition, he explains the strategic implications of China’s dual-capable missile force, specifically the DF-26 missile’s ability to rapidly convert between nuclear and conventional warheads. Finally, Mr. Panda analyzes the role of hypersonic glide vehicles, noting that, while the underlying technology is not new, advances in materials science have allowed more countries to develop HGV systems.
Ankit Panda is the Stanton Senior Fellow in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. An expert on the Asia-Pacific region, his research interests range from nuclear strategy, arms control, missile defense, nonproliferation, emerging technologies, and US extended deterrence. He is the author of Kim Jong Un and the Bomb: Survival and Deterrence in North Korea.
This episode was first released on December 8, 2020. Listeners can find Bonnie Glaser’s new work with her China Global podcast.