China, which celebrated the 100th anniversary of its Communist Party on Thursday, is allegedly constructing more than 100 new ‘nuclear’ missile silos in a desert area around the western part of the country that could be a security nightmare for Asia, including India.
Leading US-daily The Washington Post, citing a study of commercial satellite images by a California-based think tank, James Martin Center for Non-proliferation Studies, reported on Thursday that the silos were being built in a desert near the northwestern Chinese city of Yumen.
The James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey said the 119 construction sites in Gansu province were similar to existing Chinese launch facilities for nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles.
The United States expressed concern over this. State Department spokesman Ned Price said, “I think what is fair to say is that these reports and other developments suggest that the PRC’s (People’s Republic of China) nuclear arsenal will grow more quickly, and to a higher level, than perhaps previously anticipated.”
“This build-up, it is concerning,” Price said. “It raises questions about the PRC’s intent.”
“And for us it reinforces the importance of pursuing practical measures to reduce nuclear risks,” he added.
“Despite what appears to be PRC obfuscation, this rapid build-up has become more difficult to hide,” Price said. “And it highlights how the PRC appears again to be deviating from decades of nuclear strategy based around minimum deterrence.”
Beijing, on the other hand, has insisted that its military or nuclear arsenal is insignificant compared to that of the United States or Russia and has called for bilateral dialogues on strategic security that respects “equality.”