Strategic Weapons: August 31, 2002


: The Russian missile and space defense forces registered a launch of a Chinese intercontinental ballistic missile from the Jinyu proving range at 17:00 Moscow time (1300 GMT) on 28 August. The missile was aimed at a target in the Tekla-Martan desert, over 1,800 miles from the launch site. US intelligence identified this as a flight test of a Dong Feng-4 (or DF-4) missile.

American officials described the launch as a political signal to departing Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage (who had left the day before). China is believed to have about 20 DF-4s, which have a range of up to 4,340 miles and were designed to attack the US military base on Guam, as well as targets in Russia and Europe.
China announced during Armitage's visit that it is imposing new export controls aimed at curbing foreign missile transfers. Washington Times journalists Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough reported that the Bush administration sanctioned Chinese companies four times in the past year for missile-related transfers to Pakistan and Iran. 

China has a habit of using missile tests to send political signals: in November 2000, a DF-31 missile was test-fired during chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Henry H. Shelton's visit. This most-recent missile test raised Bush administration concerns that China would execute additional missile tests (or other military activities) during Chinese President Jiang Zemin's October visit to the United States. - Adam Geibel


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