Chinese state television has released a video showing the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force firing a DF-26 intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM). DF-26 also known as ‘Guam Killers’ for their ability to strike American military installations on the Pacific island, amid ongoing US ‘freedom of navigation’ missions in the South China Sea and through the Taiwan Strait. he video, filmed during a live-fire exercise somewhere in Northwest China, showed one of two DF-26 missiles which were launched last week.
Four fin-like flight control surfaces are seen around the missile nose in the report on an exercise in northwest China. The fin-like flight control surfaces provided better stability for the missile as it neared a moving target, such as a US aircraft carrier. The DF-26 has a range of 3,000–5,471 km (1,864–3,400 mi), and may be used in the nuclear, conventional, and anti-ship strike roles. The DF-26 is China’s first conventionally-armed ballistic missile capable of reaching Guam and the American military installations located there; this has led to the missile being referred to by netizens as the “Guam Express” or “Guam Killer”.
Military tension between the two countries is escalating, with the US sending two warships through the strait on Thursday, and Taiwan saying multiple PLA military jets had also flown near the southern tip of the self-ruled island to the western Pacific for a drill that day. Footage of the exercise was released just one week after the US Navy sailed two vessels through the Taiwan Strait. Beijing has repeatedly called on Washington to stay clear of the strait over concerns that the US was providing military support to Taiwan. Although the island has been a self-governing entity since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, Beijing considers it an integral part of China.