Satellite images over a Chinese province are said to show that China is apparently upgrading: More than 100 missile silos are to be built. The US State Department is concerned.
The US is concerned about China’s rapid buildup of its nuclear forces. As the spokesman for the US State Department, Ned Price, announced at a press conference, China is apparently deviating from its decades-long nuclear strategy. Referring to a Washington Post report, Price said developments such as the newspaper’s reported construction of more than 100 new missile silos in a desert area in the west of the country suggest that the nuclear arsenal is growing faster than previously thought.
“This armament is worrying. It raises questions about the intentions of the People’s Republic of China,” Price said. Beijing has been asked to negotiate measures to reduce the risk of an arms race.
More than 100 construction sites
The area with around 100 construction sites covers hundreds of square kilometers of dry land in China’s Gansu Province. The 119 almost identical construction sites have features that correspond to those of the existing launch systems for China’s arsenal of ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads.
China is said to have between 250 and 350 nuclear weapons at its disposal. “The construction boom indicates a major effort to build the credibility of China’s nuclear deterrent,” researcher Jeffrey Lewis told the newspaper. The missiles are likely to be the Chinese ICBM, known as DF-41, which can reach up to 15,000 kilometers. This means that the mainland of the USA cannot be ruled out as a destination.
The construction sites are arranged in two huge swaths and cover parts of a desert basin that extends west and southwest of Yumen, a city of 170,000 people along China’s ancient Silk Road.