A missile test, and the Philippines ask China to help fight pirates


Top politics and current affairs news for February 1, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina news roundup "A tale of two disappearing billionaires."

  • China tested new missile capable of carrying multiple nuclear warheads: report / SCMP
    Following reports last week of a sighting of a new intercontinental ballistic missile called the Dongfeng-41, and further discussion of the developing technology by a Chinese air force researcher, the Washington Free Beacon obtained comments yesterday from the Pentagon confirming a test of a similar missile in western China. While the capability of the new Dongfeng-5C to carry 10 nuclear warheads simultaneously is remarkable, China’s overall policy on nuclear weaponry is relatively restrained. As Foreign Policy notes (paywall), China has long been content to maintain a modest stock of about 200 warheads (compared with the thousands in the American and Russian arsenals), and has always maintained an unconditional no-first-strike policy.
  • Philippines’ Duterte asks China to patrol piracy-plagued waters / Reuters
    Capitalizing on his country’s new alignment with China, Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte told “newly promoted army generals” that he had requested help from Beijing to battle Abu Sayyaf, a pirate group operating in the Sulu Sea between Malaysia and the Philippines. The United States had conducted joint exercises with both Southeast Asian nations last year, but since the Philippines’ turn away from the U.S. — a major theme in 2016, and a continuing theme this year — Duterte has started to go to China first for requests such as these.