The Chinese regime could use its strengthening nuclear capabilities to coerce the United States in as soon as a few years’ time, experts say, following recent reports exposing Beijing’s secret efforts to expand its nuclear arsenal.
China will have about 250 new silos, underground facilities for housing and launching intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), once it is done building them, the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) said in a report released last week. That number, according to the think tank, is more than all of the silo-based ICBMs operated by Russia and about half of America’s ICBM force.
“The Chinese missile silo program constitutes the most extensive silo construction since the US and Soviet missile silo construction during the Cold War,” the report stated.
About 110 of the new silos are located at a field near Hami, a city in the eastern parts of China’s far-western Xinjiang region, the FAS revealed, citing satellite photos. Another site was uncovered by California-based James Martin Center in June. Researchers found an unfinished field with about 120 silos located in Yumen, a city in Xinjiang’s neighboring Gansu Province.
“The silo construction at Yumen and Hami constitutes the most significant expansion of the Chinese nuclear arsenal ever,” the FAS report stated.
The significance of the latest silo discovery is that the Chinese military “may be on its way to an initial warhead inventory of over 3,000,” Rick Fisher, senior fellow at Virginia-based think tank International Assessment and Strategy Center, told The Epoch Times.
“China is now beginning a sprint to nuclear warhead superiority,” he said in an email.
The discovery of Beijing’s clandestine activities also raises the question of what else it may be doing to build its nuclear capabilities that the international community doesn’t know about, said Patty-Jane Geller, a policy analyst for nuclear deterrence and missile defense at the Washington-based think tank Heritage Foundation.
BY FRANK FANG