* China may be building up to 110 nuclear silos, The New York Times reported.
* Researchers believe the new silos could raise China’s nuclear capacity to more than 875 warheads.
* China is the third-largest nuclear power, but its arsenal is dwarfed by those of the US and Russia.
China is constructing a network that could house up to 110 nuclear silos in a desert in the remote eastern part of the country’s Xinjiang province, according to scientists from the Federation of American Scientists, a nonprofit global think tank.
As first reported by The New York Times on Monday, scientists said construction at the site, near the city of Hami, most likely began around March. Using satellite images from the geospatial-data company Planet, they have discovered at least 14 silos and grounds cleared to build another 19. Judging from the network grid, it could house as many as 110 silos.
These underground silos are typically used to house intercontinental ballistic missiles — long-range missiles designed to deliver nuclear payloads.
The latest revelation follows a separate discovery of 119 silos under construction near Yumen in the neighboring Gansu province last month, The Washington Post reported, using satellite images from the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at Monterey.
“The silo construction at Yumen and Hami constitutes the most significant expansion of the Chinese nuclear arsenal ever,” the FAS researchers Matt Korda and Hans M. Kristensen wrote in their study.
Chinese nuclear experts, however, dismissed The Washington Post’s report on the discovery of a nuclear base under construction, with Song Zhongping, a former People’s Liberation Army instructor, saying nuclear silos were outdated, according t… (Read more)