Presidential Transition Geopolitical Silly Season, has gone into over-time play.
China has deployed a brigade of Dongfeng-41 Mobile ICBM’s to the Amur River area of the Russo-Chinese border. The Russian government has made it clear, that they do not view this deployment to be a threat to them.
China’s Global Times explained the deployment as a demonstration of Beijing’s resolve against the new US government of President Donald J. Trump.
However, there’s more to the story.
The Amur region is the one location in China where the DF-41 must be launched to reach the United States. But, the location places them well within range of Russian field artillery. The Russians would almost have to work at it to miss them.
Moscow correctly points out that the DF-41 being an ICBM, means that much of the Russian Far East is actually too close to be targeted from the Amur region. For that, China would need Short-Range Ballistic Missiles. (SRBMs). But, they fail to acknowledge that Moscow and London both fall into the targeting arc, along with Washington DC.
Moscow points out that these DF-41s would need to be deployed deeper in Chinese territory, to be effective against Russia. Ironic, because China has deployed two additional brigades of DF-41’s deeper in China, simultaneous to the Amur DF-41 deployment.
China is clearly warning Moscow and Washington both, against ideas of aligning against China. Such an alignment, is quite possible.
Disputes between Beijing & Washington, are well-known and are specific to China’s attempts to assert extra-territorial hegemony in the Western Pacific. Less well-known, is the long-standing hostility between Moscow and Beijing.
Beijing and Moscow have glossed over the hostility, and US news media drank that kool-aid in one gulp. However, in the summer of 2012 Russia held a massive military exercise adjacent to Manchuria; a clear message to Beijing that the Bear had a wary eye on the Dragon.
The Sino-Soviet alliance of 1945-69, was never sealed in a treaty. It was a shot-gun marriage based in Marxist ideology, and mutual rivalry with the West.
Russians view Chinese as heirs to the Mongols who ‘polluted’ Russian DNA after conquering them. China, and Nationalist Chinese in Taiwan both view the Russian Far East as ‘occupied’ Chinese territory.
After the Sino-Soviet Split in 1969, the Amur River which runs along the Manchu-Russian border, became the focal point of clashes between Soviet and Chinese troops that occurred on and off until the Soviet collapse in 1991.
Russia, has formed informal alliances with Vietnam & India; tried to woo North Korea, South Korea, Japan and the Philippines; including sales of military hardware to Vietnam & India; and cooperated with India to modernize the Vietnamese military.
One need only view a map, to see Moscow was trying to form a giant pincers around China.
The primary purpose of China’s military expansion into the South China Sea is to counter the combined naval power of Russia, India, and soon Vietnam, to protect China’s Middle East oil flow in the event of conflict between China and any combination of the Moscow-Hanoi-New Delhi axis.
Moscow and Washington singing from the same sheet of music in the Pacific would put China back in her box, and nail it shut for good. Beijing is very aware of this possibility, and the DF-41 ICBM deployments illustrate their great fear of it.