While Obama prepares to meet China’s President Xi Jinping at a nuclear security summit in Washington on Thursday, the Financial Times reports that a new generation of Chinese intercontinental ballistic missiles with a 14,500 km estimated range may come into service as early as this year.
The Financial Times reports the DF-41 would be the first Chinese missile that’s not only capable of carrying multiple warheads, but can also strike any part of the U.S. from anywhere in China.
“Given the number of real reported tests, it is reasonable to speculate the DF-41 will be deployed to PLA Strategic Rocket Force bases in 2016,” said Richard Fisher, senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center in Washington.
The newest missile is China’s latest attempt to join the U.S. and Russia, the world leaders in stockpiled warheads.
However, Fisher told the Financial Times that western estimates for total Chinese warheads are between 200 and 400 while the U.S., according to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, has a stockpile of 4,760.
But, despite his current estimates, Fisher added that “we will see a period of rapid increases in the numbers of China’s nuclear warheads that can reach the United States.”
The alleged deployment of the DF-41 was first reported by Canada-based military journal Kanwa Asian Defense.