As U.S. defense officials warned of China’s nuclear build-up, this Monday, July 26, came another report of a different nuclear missile silo field.
On Monday, July 26, the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) reported that satellite photographs show that China was constructing a new silo field in Hami, in the eastern section of its Xinjiang region. They expected if completed, the location could contain up to 110 silos, according to the BBC.
This latest discovery came just weeks after a similar report claimed 120 silos were sighted at a site in Yumen, a desert area about 240 miles (380 km) to the southeast in Gansu province. The scientists observed that it was at a juvenile stage of development.
The site is nearly 60 miles (97 km) away from the city of Hami, where China reportedly kept millions of Uyghur Muslims in detention camps.
“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 tweeted.
It was earlier in July that the department expressed its worries over the construction.
“This buildup—it is concerning. It raises questions about the PRC’s [People’s Republic of China] intent,” said the State Department spokesperson in a statement, given the anticipation that China’s nuclear arsenal “will grow more quickly, and to a higher level than perhaps previously anticipated.”
The department had called for China’s collaboration on avoiding the risks of catastrophic arms races, saying that Beijing may have shifted from “decades of nuclear strategy centered on minimal deterrents.”
The revelation on the additional silos came as Assistant Secretary of State Wendy Sherman prepares to meet with Russia in Geneva yesterday, for talks on arms control, per Reuters.
The meetings were viewed as a first step toward resuming delayed nuclear arsenal reduction talks. But the BBC added that China still stood outside of arms control negotiations so far.
Earlier this week Beijing had accused Washington of inventing an “imaginary enemy” in order to shift attention away from domestic issues and repress China.
To Republican Congressman Mike Turner, ranking member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, he thought the “unprecedented” constructions to be a preparation “to threaten the United States and our allies.”
He stated that as China remains unwilling to engage in arms control negotiations, it “should be a cause for concern and condemned by all responsible nations.”
Ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), believed the Chinese buildup underscored the need for the U.S. to rapidly modernize its nuclear capability.
In April, the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) mouthpiece media was adamant that its military must quickly prepare for an imminent “nuclear showdown” for the U.S. has not recoiled from its hostile attitudes against China.
“We must be prepared for an intense showdown between China and the U.S.,” wrote Hu Xijin, an editor of the Chinese state-run newspaper the Global Times. “The number of China’s nuclear warheads must reach the quantity that makes U.S. elites shiver should they entertain the idea of engaging in a military confrontation with China.”
Relationship between the United States and China had not been too smooth in recent years, even despite the shift in two the rival presidencies of Donald Trump and Joe Biden.
China has become a center of international criticism over its barbaric human rights abuse issues, spying tactics, alleged cyber attacks, and behaviors in the South China Sea as well as with Taiwan and HongKong. The yet to settle debate of the COVID-19 origin further damages the Chinese government’s so-called “image.”