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Nuke capable missile: China tests 12,000 km ICBM with multiple warheads


Beijing (Dec. 20, 2014): China has conducted the most comprehensive test of a nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile which can hit targets as far as 12,000 kilometres, bringing all of the US under its range.

The People's Liberation Army (PLA) conducted the full test of the missile, DF-41, involving multiple, independently targetable re-entry vehicles on December 13, said the Washington Free Beacon which has earlier accurately reported about Chinese missiles tests.

The missile has an estimated range of 12,000 kilometres and can carry up to 10 warheads, which separates from the rocket during the final stage of its flight and target individual cities, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.

There is, however, no confirmation from the Chinese military about the test and the number of warheads used.

A successful test would mean China has made a significant advance in its nuclear capabilities with far-reaching consequences for US's balance of power in the Asia-Pacific, the Post report quoted a defence policy expert as saying.

The DF-41 flight test is being viewed by US intelligence agencies as a significant advance for China's strategic nuclear forces and part of a build-up that is likely to affect the strategic balance of forces, it said.

The flight-test marks the first test of multiple warhead capabilities for China, the Beacon quoted US officials as saying.

China's nuclear arsenal is estimated to include around 240 very large warheads. That number is expected to increase sharply as the Chinese deploy new multiple-warhead missiles.

The current deployed US strategic warhead arsenal includes 1,642 warheads.