The Pentagon and Republican congressmen on Tuesday aired fresh concerns about China’s build-up of its nuclear forces after a new report saying Beijing was building 110 more missile silos. An American Federation of Scientists (AFS) report on Monday said satellite images showed China was building a new field of silos near Hami in the eastern part of its Xinjiang region.
The report came weeks after another on the construction of about 120 missile silos in Yumen, a desert area about 240 miles (380 km) to the southeast. “This is the second time in two months the public has discovered what we have been saying all along about the growing threat the world faces and the veil of secrecy that surrounds it,” the U.S. Strategic Command said in tweet linked to a New York Times article on the AFS report. The State Department in early July called China’s nuclear buildup concerning and said it appeared Beijing was deviating from decades of nuclear strategy based around minimal deterrence. It called on China to engage with it “on practical measures to reduce the risks of destabilizing arms races.” A 2020 Pentagon report estimated China’s nuclear warhead stockpile in “the low 200s” and said it was projected to at least double in size as Beijing expands and modernizes its forces. Analysts say the United States has around 3,800 warheads, and according to a State Department factsheet, 1,357 of those were deployed as of March 1. Washington has repeatedly called on China to join it and Russia in a new arms control treaty.