An American researcher has discovered a second new nuclear facility with 110 silos in China that analysts say points to Beijing’s coming of age as an atomic superpower on par with US and Russia, while countering India’s own “rapid” expansion of its arsenal.
Matt Korda, a Research Associate for the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientist (FAS), announced on Monday that he had found through satellite photo analysis China’s second major nuclear silo field near Hami in Eastern Xinjiang. Together with the discovery a few weeks ago of another silo field of similar size in Yumen, they suggested “the largest expansion of China’s nuclear force ever.”
The discovery was validated by other experts and it invited a lengthy analysis in the New York Times, whose resident nuclear pundits said the simplest explanation for the massive expansion is that “China now views itself as a full-spectrum economic, technological and military superpower — and wants an arsenal to match that status.”
Experts believe that till recently China operated only about 20 silos for big, liquid-fuel missiles called the DF-5. But the discovery of two new facilities, which will give the country roughly 230 new silos, indicate Beijing is embarking on a new assertive strategy under President Xi Jinping.