China has successfully tested a new variant of its 10,000km-range Dongfeng missile, which can reportedly reach most of the US and European cities.
According to the South China Morning Post, the test of the mobile intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) demonstrates to the world that China is reinforcing its nuclear deterrent.
The launch of the DF-31B missile follows tests on the DF-31A, an earlier version of the missile. This was the second time that the PLA’s second artillery corps had tested a DF-31 missile in the past three months.
The PLA also carried out a flight test of a DF-31A in late July, which was its fourth known flight test in two years. The DF-31 system’s range is capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the capitals of Europe or the west coast of the US.
The missiles are being developed for use over rugged terrain and in difficult road conditions.
Retired PLA major general Xu Guangyu was quoted by the South China Morning Post as saying: "Beijing just wants to increase China’s military might and its nuclear strategic threat. It’s not really targeting the US or other countries.
"China needs to conduct intensive weapons tests and military drills because the (US-led build-up) now in the Asia-Pacific area is not good for Beijing."
Earlier reports also suggested that Beijing was working on the 12,000km-range Dongfeng-41, which would allow it to hit targets anywhere in the US.