BEIJING Aug 1 A Chinese provincial department
appeared to have inadvertently confirmed the existence of an
intercontinental ballistic missile that may be able to carry
several nuclear warheads and travel as far as the United States.
The state-backed Global Times tabloid carried a report about
the missile in its online edition on Friday based on an internet
posting by the Shaanxi Provincial Environmental Monitoring
Center Station, which said a military installation in the
province was developing the weapons.
The Chinese government has never acknowledged the existence
of the Dongfeng-41 (DF-41) missile but the U.S. Department of
Defense said in a 2014 report that it could carry a payload of
multiple nuclear warheads.
Analysts have said the missile could have a range of about
12,000 km (7,500 miles).
The Global Times carried a screenshot of the provincial
monitoring station's online notice about the missile.
The paper said the missile was "a strategic trump card that
is without a doubt the most mysterious and most capable of
But both the Global Times report and the station's notice
were later taken down.
The Global Times follows developments in China's military
closely and has frequently revealed new technology including
China's stealth fighter jets.
It is generally seen as getting more leeway in publishing
sensitive information because it is owned by the ruling
Communist Party's official People's Daily newspaper.
The U.S. Defence Department said in its report that the
People's Liberation Army (PLA) Second Artillery unit continued
to modernise its nuclear forces by enhancing its
intercontinental ballistic missiles.
The state-run Xinhua news agency has referred to the PLA's
Second Artillery force as the "core force of China for strategic
deterrence" under direct command of the powerful Central
(Reporting By Megha Rajagopalan; Editing by Robert Birsel)