Expert: China's missile launches calculated not to provoke US too much

Former Vice Admiral of Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force Koda Yoji says China's ballistic missile launches on Thursday were aimed at showing Beijing's anger with Washington over US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan. But he also points out that Beijing gave some consideration to avoiding provoking the United States too much, noting that the missiles were not the latest models.

Koda said it is unusual to fire nearly 10 missiles in a concentrated manner even amid heightened tensions, because such an action could be taken as a sign of war by the opposite side.

He said China showed a very strong response in that sense, and he believes that Washington is fully aware of Beijing's intention to demonstrate its displeasure.

The retired vice admiral said the missiles appeared to be Dongfeng-15s, the same type of ballistic missiles fired during what is known as the Taiwan Strait crisis in 1996.

He noted that Dongfeng-15 missiles have been long in use and their degree of accuracy is well understood. He went on to say the missiles rarely land on unintended targets and this suggests Beijing carried out the latest launches while taking safety precautions.

Some of the missiles fired on Thursday are believed to have landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone. Koda suggested this is a warning from China as there have recently been noticeable moves in Japan to support Taiwan.

But he said Beijing also sees that putting too much pressure on Tokyo could worsen anti-China sentiments, leading to closer ties between Japan and the US.

He added that it is unthinkable for the country to fire ballistic missiles toward Japan.