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China shows off ‘carrier killer’ nuclear missiles ahead of Pelosi’s Taiwan visit

Chinese DF-17 "carrier killer" missiles in a military parade. (Screenshot)
August 01, 2022

As China continues to make threats and demands for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to refrain from visiting Taiwan, Chinese missile forces upped the ante by posting photos of their nuclear Dongfeng DF-17 “Carrier Killer” missiles on Monday.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Rocket Forces shared a photo of rows of DF-17 ballistic missiles in a military parade.

A photo of Dongfeng DF-17 hypersonic “carrier killer” ballistic missiles at a Chinese military parade. (Screenshot).

The photo was shared by “Dongfeng Express,” the humorous name for one of the PLA Rocket Force’s secondary but still official account. Dongfeng is the Chinese name for its ballistic missiles and thus “Dongfeng Express” is the joke name of China’s ballistic missile forces.

“You can always believe in the People’s Liberation Army PLA,” the Dongfeng Express account wrote. “You believe in me, the motherland believes in me!”

The Chinese state-run media outlet Global Times has referred to the DF-17 as an “aircraft carrier killer.” The “carrier killer” moniker has also been used to describe the Dongfeng DF-21 and DF-26 ballistic missiles.

According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) missile defense project, the DF-17 is a hypersonic missile capable of going between five and ten times the speed of sound (3836 to 7672 miles per hour). The DF-17’s high speed is meant to help it counter an enemy target’s defenses by leaving it “with little time to react.”

The DF-17 can carry either conventional or nuclear warheads.

The PLA’s missile forces showed off the DF-17 amid anticipation that Pelosi’s ongoing tour of Asia will include a visit to Taiwan.

While Taiwan governs itself as a de facto independent nation, China considers the island a part of its territory. China has already said a potential Pelosi Taiwan visit is a violation of Chinese sovereignty. 

The Chinese missile forces are showing off their “carrier killer” amid reports that the U.S. military is bolstering its presence in the Indo-Pacific region ahead of Pelosi’s visit.

Last week, the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) departed the Changi Naval base in Singapore and entered the South China Sea, putting it closer to China and Taiwan. On Saturday, the USS Ronald Reagan transited the San Bernardino Strait, in the middle of the Philippine Archipelago.

In addition to posting the photo of the “carrier killer” DF-17 missiles, the PLA’s Eastern Theater Command also shared a video on Monday of its forces conducting amphibious landings and live fire drills.

On Friday, a Chinese military account on the Chinese social media app Weibo also posted the statement, “Preparing for war!”

Hu Xijin, a commentator and former editor-in-chief of the Chinese state-run Global Times, also called for shooting down Pelosi’s plane.