China’s High-tech Arsenal

J-15 fighter jets on aircraft carrier Liaoning
VCG/VCG via Getty Images

China’s High-tech Arsenal

New high-tech weapons are transforming China into a dominant naval force with great power over world trade.

The People’s Liberation Army of China is developing high-tech weapons designed to defeat the United States in a future conflict, according to a congressional commission report released on May 12. Antisatellite missiles, attack drones, high-speed rail guns, hypersonic missiles, killer satellites, lasers and other advanced arms are being developed in this bid for military dominance. While space warfare is currently China’s highest priority, many weapons are also being designed to give it military control over the world’s oceans.

As recently as 1990, China’s navy was effectively a coastal defense force. Over the last three decades, however, China has grown into a major naval power in the Indian and Pacific oceans. New high-tech weapons have now pushed China to the verge of becoming the premier naval power in the South China Sea. As the congressional commission report prepared by Jane’s Defense Industry Solutions notes, China leads the world in ballistic missile development and is making rapid progress in launching its antiship ballistic missiles further and faster.

China’s navy is also developing maneuverable reentry vehicles to sit astride their antiship ballistic missiles. Unlike traditional ballistic missiles, which fly on a predictable path upon reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere, these maneuverable reentry vehicles can take an unpredictable route to hit their intended target. This technology is a potential game changer because it enables delivery of missiles further, faster and in a manner unstoppable by current missile defense systems.

Jane’s points out that these reentry vehicles are specifically designed to challenge the U.S. Navy’s surface vessels.

A special variant of these vehicles is the hypersonic glide vehicle. It travels at five times the speed of sound and can theoretically maneuver to evade interception. Such technology would allow China to target and threaten vessels as far away as the U.S. territory of Guam.

Even without fully functional maneuverable reentry vehicles and the hypersonic glide vehicle, China is continuing to develop missiles that Jane’s believes are a viable threat to U.S. military strength. The DF-21D missile is designed for use against moving targets and capable of disabling ships the size of U.S. aircraft carriers. Its estimated range allows it to target vessels in the East and South China seas. Its cousin, the DF-26, has a range twice as far. Both missiles have been dubbed “carrier killers,” clearly highlighting their intended purpose.

While it may not seem like these weapons pose much of a threat to the U.S. homeland, they do give the Chinese Navy tremendous power over shipping lanes and maritime choke points in the Indo-Pacific Region.

The world’s most important trade routes pass through the Strait of Malacca, the Strait of Hormuz, the Bab el-Mandeb, the Turkish Straits, the Suez Canal and the Panama Canal. China is already challenging America for control of many of these choke points. If new high-tech weapons give China a competitive edge over America in the Indian and Pacific oceans, the United States may soon find that it is no longer a global superpower.

Laser Warfare

The Bab el-Mandeb is the strait at the southern end of the Red Sea. Roughly 4 percent of the world’s oil supply passes through this strategic waterway. Two major military bases located in the African nation of Djibouti guard the Bab el-Mandeb: a Chinese support base and Camp Lemonnier, the only permanent U.S. military base in Africa.

According to Pentagon officials, the Chinese military has begun testing new laser weapons in Djibouti. Two U.S. pilots on a cargo plane suffered eye injuries after being exposed to a laser beam. The Pentagon reports that there have been 10 similar laser attacks on U.S. personnel working at Camp Lemonnier. American military officials have accused China of deliberately pointing lasers at U.S. planes. China denies the accusations.

These attacks undermine the morale of U.S. troops as the threat of trade war looms between the U.S. and China.

“These incidents are not surprising as they represent an act just short of war, but indicate gross, intentional negligence, as well as complete disregard for aviation safety and international norms,” Trey Meeks, a principal at the Asia Group research firm, told the Wall Street Journal. “I would certainly view it as harassment.”

Whether or not China was behind these laser attacks, the incidents at least illustrate how such a high-tech weapon can be used to distract and injure U.S. personnel in ways that do not elicit retaliation. Some analysts worry that China may leverage Djibouti’s monetary debt to get the U.S. military kicked out of Camp Lemonnier.

With debt soaring and budget deficits growing, Congress estimates that the U.S. government will be spending more on interest payments than national defense within the next few years. If America is forced to cut defense spending, its overseas military bases will likely be one of the first expenses to go. The loss of these bases would transform America from a global hegemon projecting power around the world into a “normal” nation, just defending its borders. China is already positioned to be one of the main beneficiaries of this transition. Even if the U.S. Navy remains supreme in the Atlantic and Western Pacific, China’s new high-tech arsenal will secure control over the maritime trade routes stretching between East Africa and the South China Sea.

Besieged in Thy Gates

For the past seven decades the world has enjoyed a period of relative peace and unprecedented prosperity because the U.S. military has acted as global policeman. If America can no longer defend the world’s most important trade routes, this period of peace will come to an end. Even the U.S. mainland will become vulnerable to economic siege as foreign powers seize control of maritime choke points.

In his book The United States and Britain in Prophecy, Herbert W. Armstrong explained that the English-speaking peoples once controlled virtually every maritime choke point and sea gate on the planet. How did these nations come to dominate global trade to such an extent? It all began with a promise made to the patriarch Abraham. God promised to give Abraham’s descendants control over the “gates” of their enemies (Genesis 22:17). A gate is a narrow passage of entrance or exit. When speaking nationally, a “sea gate” is a narrow choke point, such as the Panama Canal. God gave Britain and America these commercial gates, ensuring that they would become economic and military superpowers. He did this because they are the literal descendants of Abraham’s grandson Jacob, later renamed Israel.

But God also warned that if America and Britain did not obey Him, then not only would those sea gates be taken away, but they would be used against them. “And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land: and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which the Lord thy God hath given thee” (Deuteronomy 28:52). The fact that China is taking control of sea gates across Africa and Australasia is a telling indicator of where America is headed.

The greatest prophet of all time, Jesus Christ, told His disciples about a time when the world would be dominated by non-Israelite nations (Luke 21:24). He also foretold that these non-Israelite nations would wreak unimaginable havoc on Earth, to the point where all life would be destroyed if Christ did not return to stop them. This is why the seismic shift away from America and toward nations like China, Iran, Germany and Russia is actually good news. It is actually the first step heralding the beginning of the end of mankind’s experiment in self-government and the return of Jesus Christ to this Earth.

For a detailed description of the biblical passages describing the coming siege against America, read our article “China Is Steering the World Toward War,” by Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry.

Research assistance by Whitney Kelsey