China building second nuclear missile silo field, claims report; US concerned

Published on Jul 28, 2021 12:32 PM IST

The report is based on satellite images obtained by the Federation of American Scientists. It said that as many as 110 missile silos are being constructed in the Xinjiang province, which will take China's armour of nuclear tipped missiles to 250.

The high resolution images of the missile silo being constructed in China's Xinjiang province.(Twitter/@planet)
The high resolution images of the missile silo being constructed in China's Xinjiang province.(Twitter/@planet)
By | Written by Amit Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

China is building a missile silo, a report in CNN has claimed. The US publication has quoted a report from Federation of American Scientists (FAS) to say that as many as 110 silos have been detected in the western desert area of the country.

The FAS report, published on Monday, is based on satellite images obtained by the organisation. It said that this is the second such silo after one near Yumen in Gansu province, as reported by Washington Post. The second missile silo field in Hami (Xinjiang province) is located 380 kilometres from the Yumen site, according to FAS.

It also claimed that the construction at Hami site began in March this year and is continuing at a rapid pace. The area is being developed in a grid-like outline, the FAS report said.

As many as 14 dome structures are visible at the Hami construction site, FAS said based on the satellite pictures it obtained. The higher resolution images of the site were provided by Planet, it added.

"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 US Strategic Command said on Twitter, reacting to the latest news about missile silos and tagging a New York Times story on it.

FAS said that these sites signify "the most significant expansion of the Chinese nuclear arsenal ever". It added that this is the most extensive silo construction since the US and Soviet missile silo construction during the Cold War.

These silos will add to China's arsenal of nuclear tipped Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), which according to FAS has now swelled to 250 - constituting more than half of the size of the entire US ICBM force.

Earlier, after the discovery of missile silos in Gansu, the United States had called the dramatic build-up "concerning" and called for practical measures to reduce the risks of destabilising arms race.

Beijing, meanwhile, has said that its arsenal is dwarfed by those of the United States and Russia and it is ready to conduct bilateral dialogues on strategic security "on the basis of equality and mutual respect."

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