China's Underground Great Wall

Discussion in 'China' started by A.V., Oct 15, 2011.

  1. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

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  3. Dovah

    Dovah Untermensch Senior Member

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    This is scary.
     
  4. sandeepdg

    sandeepdg Senior Member Senior Member

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    Even I have heard about this quite some back, and yes it is a fact. I gotta give it to them, in keeping this development from the prying eyes of the western media for so long and even now very few people have even heard about this.
     
  5. sandeepdg

    sandeepdg Senior Member Senior Member

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    China’s Underground Great Wall

    The impending sea trials of China’s first aircraft carrier set commentators abuzz in the West and Asia over the past couple of months. I weighed in myself. And for good reason. The cruise of the yet-to-be-officially-named flattop, which finally took place last week, heralded a decisive break with the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s Maoist past as a coastal defence force. This is a development worth exploring in detail. As it happened, the Naval War College also convened its first Asian Strategic Studies Conference in Newport last week, in conjunction with the American Enterprise Institute and the Journal of Strategic Studies. My assigned topic was to determine whether there exists a common Asian culture of sea power (no, say I) and how influential the Western canon of maritime theory is among seafaring Asian nations (very, mainly by default).

    To me, though, the most provocative presentation delivered at our conference related not to the sea but to the future of China’s land-based nuclear arsenal. In March 2008, China’s state-run CCTV network broke the news about a 5,000-kilometre-long network of hardened tunnels built to house the Chinese Second Artillery Corps’s increasingly modern force of nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles. Tunnelling evidently commenced in 1995. Located in, or rather under, mountainous districts of Hebei Province, in northern China, the facility is reportedly hundreds of meters deep. That makes it an exceptionally hard target against conventional or nuclear counterstrikes.China Defense Daily, a publication of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), confirmed the CCTV account in December 2009.

    What should have been a blockbuster story occasioned barely a peep in the Western press, and elicited little response even in Asia. For lack of a catchier metaphor, call it the dragon that never roared. The most prominent outlet to report on what Chinese pundits dubbed the ‘underground Great Wall’ was Chosun Ilbo, in South Korea. The Washington-based Jamestown Foundation’s China Brief covered the story shortly afterward. That was basically it for original reporting. The story isn’t so much that Beijing has constructed hardened sites to safeguard its missile force. An invulnerable second-strike capability has been the gold standard of nuclear deterrence since the early Cold War. In theory, a military able to ride out an enemy first strike with a substantial portion of its missile force intact can deter such an attack. No sane adversary would launch a first strike if it knew its actions would summon forth a cataclysmic reply.

    A more survivable nuclear deterrent, then, should bolster strategic stability between China and the United States. China has long contented itself with a ‘minimalist’ deterrent posture, fielding a small, rudimentary force of intercontinental ballistic missiles. The logic of minimalism—sound in my view—is that so long as even a single missile survives to retaliate against an enemy’s homeland, that adversary will desist from actions China deems unacceptable. Estimates of the total number of Chinese warheads even today, well into Beijing’s nuclear modernization effort, generally range from 150 to 400 devices. Even in this age of renewed US-Russian arms control, this remains a modest force. But minimal deterrence could employ a more robust force than the People’s Liberation Army fielded in past decades. ‘Minimal’ is a squishy term. Furthermore, Chinese officials and pundits have taken to debating adopting a ‘limited deterrent’ strategy. ‘Limited’ too remains hazily defined.

    The very scale of the underground network opens up new vistas for Chinese nuclear strategy. The presenter at our conference reported piecing together various bits of data, and concluding that China may have constructed a far larger warhead inventory than most estimates hold. He projected an upper limit of 3,600 doomsday devices and delivery platforms, namely ballistic missiles of various types. The underground Great Wall could presumably accommodate such a force with ease. At a minimum, it presents Beijing new options. Think about it. The ‘New START’ accord inked by US President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev last year limits US and Russian nuclear forces to 1,550 deployed warheads apiece. Because of the fudge factor often built into international treaties, notes the Federation of American Scientists, the actual numbers permitted under New START come to over 2,000 warheads for each side.

    Even so, if the PLA has covertly departed from minimal deterrence—secreting hundreds of new weapons in the Hebei tunnel complex—then it could upend the strategic balance overnight, achieving parity or near-parity with the United States and Russia in deployed weaponry. I’m not sure how much of this to credit, and the presenter freely admitted that there was a significant guesswork quotient in his figures. But then there was a significant guesswork quotient to the long-running speculation surrounding the Chinese aircraft carrier project, a project of far smaller consequence than a clandestine Chinese nuclear build-up. At a minimum it would be worthwhile to inquire into the veracity of Chinese reporting on the underground Great Wall, and to ponder the implications if reports are accurate. Let the debate begin—at last.

    China’s Underground Great Wall | Flashpoints
     
  6. sandeepdg

    sandeepdg Senior Member Senior Member

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    China's "Underground Great Wall" and Nuclear Deterrence



    In early December, the People’s Liberation Army's (PLA) publication, China Defense Daily (Zhongguo Guofang Bao), published a report that provided a rare glimpse into an underground tunnel that is being built by the Second Artillery Corps (SAC)—the PLA's strategic missile forces—in the mountainous regions of Hebei Province in northern China. The network of tunnels reportedly stretches for more than 3,107 miles (Ta Kung Pao, December 11; Xinhua News Agency, December 14). The revelation of the semi-underground tunnel highlights the strides being made by China's nuclear modernization efforts, and underscores a changing deterrent relationship between the United States and China.

    The labyrinthine tunnel system, dubbed by the Chinese-media as the "Underground Great Wall” (Dixia Changcheng), was built for concealing, mobilizing and deploying China's growing arsenal of nuclear weapons. According to military experts cited by various reports, the main purpose of the underground tunnel is to provide the SAC with a credible second-strike capability. The building of an underground tunnel for this purpose is consistent with China's evolving nuclear doctrine from its traditional posture of "minimum deterrence" to a doctrine of "limited deterrence," since the subterranean bunkers strengthen the survivability of China's nuclear forces and bolster its nuclear deterrence posture.

    Analysts have long speculated that the SAC' most important underground missile positions were located in the mountainous area in northern China. The geography of this region is cut by steep cliffs and canyons, and therefore suited for use in covering the network of tunnels that is 3,017 miles and can feed a web of underground launch silos. According to a military analyst cited by Hong Kong-based Ta Kung Pao, "the outermost layer is 1,000 meters [3,280 feet] deep and covered with soil that does not include any artificial reinforcements" (Ta Kung Pao, December 11; Xinhua News Agency, December 14). Moreover, the Chinese reports described the tunnel system in terms of "hard and deeply buried targets" (HDBTs), which typically refers to facilities a few hundred feet deep in "underground installations." In the case of strategic nuclear missiles, it would mean that all preparations can be completed underground, and the transportation of missiles, equipments and personnel through a network of underground corridors by rail cars or heavy-duty trailers to fixed launch sites can not be detected from observations on the ground (Ta Kung Pao, December 11; News.sina.com, December 13; Xinhua News Agency, December 14).

    The SAC arsenal of land-based nuclear warheads is believed to include the DF-3A, DF-4, DF-5 (CSS-4), DF-21, DF-31 and the DF-31A. These land-based ballistic missiles have a range of 200 to 5,000 kilometers. According to one U.S.-estimate, "China has approximately 176 deployed warheads, plus an unknown number of stored warheads, for a total stockpile of approximately 240 warheads" (Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Vol. 64, No. 3).

    This report is not the first time that the existence of a tunnel of such magnitude was revealed. As early as 1995, according to a report in the Liberation Army Daily cited by Ta Kung Pao, a SAC project called the "Great Wall" was completed after 10 years of construction through the labor of "tens of thousands" of army engineers. Furthermore, the Chinese-television program, "Documentary for Military," aired by Chinese-state run television network CCTV on March 24, 2008, also revealed the status of an underground nuclear counter-strike project called the "great wall project" (Ta Kung Pao, December 11; News.sina.com, December 13).

    An article published in the Taiwan-based Asia-Pacific Defense Magazine, entitled "A Destructive Projection Power: PLA Second Artillery Corps' Long-range Guided Missiles," by former Taiwanese Vice Admiral Lan Ning-li, included an analysis that also discussed underground installations of the Second Artillery Corps. According to Vice Admiral Lan's assessment: "The early version of China's mid-to long-range missiles had all been deployed above ground and were vulnerable to detection by spy satellites and attacks by interceptor missiles. That prompted the Chinese military to move all of their missiles hundreds of meters underground" (Ta Kung Pao, December 11; Chosun Ilbo, December 14). Moreover, a Hong Kong-based military analyst cited by Ta Kung Pao suggested that the timing of the open declaration about China's nuclear modernization before negotiations on the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty may be meant to draw attention to China's nuclear stature (Ta Kung Pao, December 11; News.sina.com, December 13).

    Yet, while deterrence assumes that a more secure second-strike capability could enhance stability by causing adversaries to act more cautiously, some analysts have pointed out that strategic stability may not be the necessary outcome of China's deployment of a secure second-strike capability (See "The Future of Chinese Deterrence Strategy," China Brief, March 4). Since China continues to conceal details about the size and composition of its nuclear stockpile, this may lead to more concerns from China's regional neighbors over Beijing's nuclear modernization.

    The Jamestown Foundation: China's "Underground Great Wall" and Nuclear Deterrence
     
  7. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    What is the point of making 5000km worth of tunnels and silos stretched out like the Great Wall? They would do far better making several separate storage/launch facilities and save trillions of dollars. Not to mention the fact such a project would have already bankrupted them.
     
  8. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    They are making Road Mobile TELs so such a system is redundant.
     
  9. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    If it is at all just for road mobile launchers, then reducing their signature would've helped; why undertake such a huge activity?

    I believe it is meant for more than just launchers. Possibly bunkers & safe passage across mainland in event of total annihilation making surface transit impossible due to NBC threats.
     
  10. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    China is known for its tunnel defence structures and emplacements.
     
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  11. aimarraul

    aimarraul Regular Member

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  12. agentperry

    agentperry Senior Member Senior Member

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    china's peaceful rise!!! peacefully arrange for large scale war. peacefully make long tunnels for transporting missiles and storing them too. peacefully create havoc in neighboring nations and peacefully work out for global hegemony.
     
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  13. Kingsley

    Kingsley New Member

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    Peaceful or not, China is one of the most threatened nations in the world. It's military developments are for China and China alone to decide on, not Indians or Americans or anyone else.
     
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  14. sesha_maruthi27

    sesha_maruthi27 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Does INDIA have anything like this or at least is there a plan to do build anything like this.
     
  15. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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  16. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

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    Because this is aimed ot feed China's insatiable appetitite for World recognition (any keen Chinese observer knows that Chinese are suckers for status). And this unquenchable thirst does not make practicality an issue. Good luck to the new USSR...
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2011
  17. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

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    Anyone remembers this:

    [​IMG]

    Impressive aye?
     
  18. cir

    cir Senior Member Senior Member

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    tip of the iceberg。

    The Taihang Mountain in Hebei province in Northern China is not the only mountain where miles of inter-connected tunnels hundreds meters down the surface have been dug for the SAC。It just happens to be first location where such facilities have been built for national defence purposes。

    Since China has many mountains on a far larger scale than the good old Taihang, one can bet one's house on the fact that similar structures have been or are being constructed for retaliatory strikes less the enemies dare use nuclear or biological weapons againt China。

    For example,the remote and sparsely populated Tibet is just such a mountainous region with commanding height。 It would be a great shame not making the best use of it。One can be sure that the engineering brigrades of the SAC are working on some unknown projects one way or the other。All after, the SAC is renowned for its tunnel-digging capability,a capability that has been amply demonstrated in numerous circumstances。:thumb:
     
  19. satish007

    satish007 Senior Member Senior Member

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    I don't think India is crazy as Chinese. don't mess with China , we are Communism. steer clear with Russian also, they also are mad.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2011
  20. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

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    rumour of tunnel linking Delhi with city nearby..........................
     

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