US Concerned About Report China is Expanding Missile Silos

American researchers using commercial satellite imagery say China appears to be significantly expanding the number of launch silos for its arsenal of intercontinental range ballistic missiles, raising fears that nuclear weapons will become a new issue of contention between Washington and Beijing. Using images provided by the satellite imaging company Planet, two researchers from the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (California) found that China is building 119 silos in the desert of the northwestern province of Gansu. Jeffery Lewis, one of the researchers, told VOA that development is likely for China’s DF-41 ICBM, which is believed to be capable of carrying multiple nuclear warheads. With an estimated range of nearly 7,000 kilometers and possible capability to carry up to 10 warheads, researchers believe the FILE – Chinese and U.S. flags flutter outside a company building in Shanghai, China April 14, 2021.During the Cold war, the United States created a plan to build multiple launch shelters for each missile, 23 for one to be exact. The missiles were regularly moved among silos to make it impossible for the Soviet Union to target U.S. land-based ICBMs. The plan was adopted by the Carter administration but was later changed by the Reagan administration. Lewis agreed that that is a possibility. “China likely has similar concerns about the survivability of silo-based ICBMs, and may rotate a smaller number of ICBMs among a larger number of operational silos,” he added. Acton also pointed out that China still has a relatively small nuclear arsenal compared to the U.S.  According to the Pentagon, China has a warhead stockpile in the low 200s. “For comparison, the United States possesses around 3,800 nuclear warheads, of which around 1,750 are deployed,” Acton wrote. The U.S. has repeatedly reached out to China for negotiations on nuclear arms. In May, the U.S. disarmament ambassador, Robert Wood, said at a U.N. conference that China continues to resist discussing nuclear risk reduction bilaterally with the U.S.  China’s envoy, Ji Zhaoyu, responded by saying that Beijing is ready to engage, but only “on the basis of equality and mutual respect.”Heath, from the Rand Corporation, said that in view of the new developments, the U.S. may seek to press for arms control talks with China, but it’s doubtful China will accept such controls given the small size of its nuclear arsenal. “The U.S. may also need to build more anti-missile defenses,” he said. Acton said a quid pro quo might work. “If the United States wants to engage China in arms control, the kind of idea that I think is worth exploring is a quid pro quo, by which the U.S. agrees to limit its missile defenses, for example by agreeing not to develop or deploying missile defenses in space, in return for China agreeing not to produce any more nuclear material with which it could augment its arsenal,” he said in an analysis video posted by Carnegie.  

your ad here

leave a reply