The Chinese government reportedly deployed nuclear missiles to the Russia-China border in the northeast Heilongjiang province, an act Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government described as a nonissue Tuesday, Russian and Chinese media reported. The ballistic missiles, called the Dongfeng-41 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, are capable of traveling up to 15,000 kilometers and was successfully tested with dummy warheads by the Chinese government in the South China Sea in April last year.
Unverified photos and videos of the massive ballistic missiles being deployed in the Chinese suburb made waves online as they spread across social media throughout this month. The footage had not been reported on until Tuesday, when the Kremlin’s Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said “[Russia doesn’t] see the military disposition of China as a threat to our country,” the Moscow Times reported Tuesday.
A video posted to Twitter shows officials guiding a large vehicle along a highway as it carried what appeared to be the DF-41 intercontinental missile.
China’s reported deployment of the intercontinental nuclear missiles has sparked fear of a potential confrontation between the two major nations, regardless of the Kremlin’s dismissal of its military. The bordering countries have developed somewhat of an economic alliance as Putin’s Kremlin has increased international business negotiations and visits with the Chinese government ever since President Xi Jinping came to power in 2013.
The Council on Foreign Relations released its annual Preventive Priorities Survey for 2017, which examined each of the potential global conflicts that could occur in any upcoming year. It also assessed what level of priority they were for American interests. A provocation between China and Russia was not listed as one of those issues, though the organization noted “a deliberate or unintended military confrontation between Russia and NATO members, stemming from assertive Russian behavior in Eastern Europe,” could be a “top tier conflict” in 2017.
Chinese officials have not released a statement verifying or denying the intercontinental nuclear missile deployment.