China's Newest Missile
Capable of Hitting
New York & London

BEIJING (Agence France Presse) - China will imminently test the Julang 2, an intercontinental sea-to-surface ballistic missile with an estimated range at least 9,000 kilometres (5580 miles) that will boost its nuclear deterent capability, foreign military experts in Beijing said Tuesday.
"The test is imminent," said an expert who asked to not be named, but added the missile, capable of hitting any city in the United States and Europe, could be equipped with a small nuclear warhead.
According to Monday's Washington Times newspaper, the transit of Chinese Golf class submarines from southern areas to the north of the country, carried out last month, signals the approach of the JL-2 test.
The newspaper also put the range of the Jl-2 at nearly 12,000 kilometres.
The second generation Julang, which translates as "great wave," is the successor to the Julang-1, which was tested successfully in the 1980s from Golf submarines, which are powered by Soviet-made engines, and from the Xia, believed to be the Chinese navy's only nuclear-powered submarine.
The Xia's first successful missile launch of the JL-1 took place in September 1988, according to defense specialists Jane's Information Group.
"It was generaly held that (a JL-2 launch) would be from the Golf, but it could also be from a submarine platform or an upgrade of the Xia," Robert Karniol, Jane's Asian correspondent based in Bangkok, told AFP.
China hopes to place the JL-2, also known as the CSS-N-4X, aboard a new generation of type 094 nuclear submarines, whose construction will begin during the next few weeks, said the Washington Times, citing American sources.
The newspaper said the submarine would carry a smaller underwater variant of the Julang-2 and could be operational by 2005-2006.
No confirmation of the new submarine could be obtained from foreign military experts in Beijing, though they said China has two nuclear submarine programs, one for attack submarines, the other for missile-launching types.
Some experts believe the JL-2 will be equipped with a 2.5 megaton warhead, however others believe it will be 10 times less powerful.
A megaton is a unit of explosive power equal to a million tonnes of TNT.
According to American experts, the JL-2, like China's intercontinental surface-to-surface Dongfeng-31 (DF-31), tested successfully this summer, is equipped with technology adapted from the Trident D-5.
The Triden D-5 is America's most modern missile and is equipped with W-88 miniature nuclear warheads.
Only China, Russia and the United States stock a full range of nuclear weapons, comprising surface, air and sea missiles.
If the JL-2 test is successful, Karniol said, "China will have made a significant step in the modernization process of its nuclear force, it will give her a second strike capability if a nuclear war starts." ((c) 1999 Agence France Presse)


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