On Tuesday, the Global Times reported that the Chinese military has deployed a Dongfeng-41 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) system, which is capable of targeting the US mainland.

Some media claimed that the Chinese military intentionally revealed the Dongfeng-41 and connected it with the inauguration of US President Donald Trump. They think this is Beijing’s response to Trump’s provocative remarks on China.  …  It is logical that Beijing attaches particular importance to the Dongfeng-41 as a strategic deterrence tool.

This follows weeks of campaign promises from President Trump to get tough on China.  Rex Tillerson, nominee for Secretary of State, said two weeks ago in Senate testimony that the US must prevent China from militarizing illegally-occupied islands in the South China Sea, and should also block Chinese access to those islands.  The Chinese Communist Party took that at face value, which is just short of a declaration of war.

The Global Times, which often acts as a mouthpiece for the Chinese Communist Party, went on to say that US leaders have not given enough respect to China.

The US has not paid enough respect to China’s military. Senior US officials of the Asia-Pacific command frequently show their intention to flex their muscles with arrogance. The Trump team also took a flippant attitude toward China’s core interests after Trump’s election win. Enhancing communication and mutual understanding is not enough. China must procure a level of strategic military strength that will force the US to respect it.

It’s not known when exactly China deployed the Dongfeng-41, however, the ICBM is currently located in China’s Heilongjiang Province, near the Russian border.  Given the warnings in the Global Times, it would be prudent to say that the missiles are likely aimed at American targets to deter US military action against China in the South China Sea.  A nuclear exchange is not imminent, and a nuclear war is not likely in the near-term, however, the war of words between US and Chinese leaders is escalating.

More reporting and analysis to follow in Friday’s Executive Intelligence Summary.