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China moving toward deploying anti-carrier missile

world Updated: Dec 28, 2010 13:18 IST

The commander of the US Pacific Command says China is moving closer to deploying a ballistic missile designed to sink an aircraft carrier.

Adm. Robert Willard told Japan's Asahi Shimbun newspaper that he believed the Chinese anti-ship ballistic missile program had achieved "initial operational capability," meaning that a workable design had been settled on.

Willard says the system's component parts have likely been developed and tested, but US sources have not detected an over-water test to see how well it can target a moving ship. He says years of tests are still needed.

The missile, known as the Dong Feng 21D, is considered a key component of China's strategy of denying access to the western Pacific by US planes and ships.