Taipei, Taiwan (AP) — US military warns that analysts have described it as a major expansion of China’s nuclear missile silo field during growing tensions between Beijing and Washington.
Researchers at the Federation of American Scientists estimate that about 250 underground missile silos are under construction in China after using satellite imagery to identify new fields under construction in western China.
US Strategic Commandtweeteda links to a New York Times article published this week on federal findings on Wednesday.
“The public has discovered what we have been saying about the growing threat facing the world and the secret veil that surrounds it,” said the Strategic Command, which oversees US nuclear weapons.
The fields in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region are the second fields reported this summer. In June, researchers at the James Martin Non-Diffusion Research Center in California identified another area under construction in the neighboring Gansu province.
China has not commented on the report. The Foreign Ministry was asked about the latest on Friday and said it was unaware of the situation.
The report comes when US-China relations plummet to the worst levels in decades. The two countries, trade, technology, cyber security, human rights, such as China’s foreign policy has become increasingly aggressive under the Xi Jinping president, has continued the violent confrontation on various issues.
China’s expansion of nuclear power is likely to take into account US calculations of potential military conflicts over flash points such as Taiwan and the South China Sea.
A frank editor of the state-run Global Times said this week that US agencies and the media are putting pressure on China by hype about coverage of the missile field, but should not threaten the country.
“See what American politicians are saying about China and see the provocative actions of their military planes and warships near China,” said Hu Xijin. “China must fully strengthen its military build-up and nuclear deterrence as the cornerstone of national security.”
Both sites are approximately 800 square kilometers (300 square miles). Ground silos can accommodate intercontinental ballistic missiles. Spreading the silo over such a large area makes targeting the field much more complicated. According to analysts, some silos can also act as decoys.
“China’s missile silo program constitutes the largest silo construction since the construction of US and Soviet missile silos during the Cold War,” researchers Matt Korda and Hans Kristensen told the Federation of American Scientists. writing.
Kuo Yu-Jen, a defense research expert at the National Policy Institute of Taiwan, said that it is very difficult to accurately count underground silos in any country, but recently released satellite images are “very similar.” Stated. For missile silos.
He characterized the findings as a warning to others by the United States that China was violating an international agreement on nuclear disarmament as it developed its nuclear weapons capabilities.
“It also informs Russia. China’s increasing number of missiles threatens not only the United States but also Russia and Europe,” said Kuo, director of Taiwan’s National Policy Institute.
The United States and Russia, which possess the world’s largest nuclear weapons, held decisive talks in Geneva this week to avoid a new arms race.
China’s nuclear weapons are estimated by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute to have 350 warheads, while the United States or Russia each have about 6,000 warheads. The Pentagon says China will be at least twice the size of its arsenal within 10 years.
A recent study follows Kristensen’s February discovery that he built 11 underground silos in a vast missile training area near Jilantaizhen in north-central China.
Gambrel contributed to this report from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
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