China is building more than 100 new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) silos in the northwestern desert province of Gansu, according to a study of satellite images obtained by a non-governmental organization dedicated to stopping the spread of weapons of mass destruction.  

According to Breitbart, the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) is the organization that detected 119 manufacturing sites distributed at least three kilometers apart, covering hundreds of square kilometers in total near the Chinese city of Yuman.

Jeffrey Lewis of the James Martin Center told Foreign Policy on Wednesday 30 June that they began the satellite search following a rumor that China was seeking to double its nuclear missile inventory and found a shocking number of them under construction in Yumen and elsewhere, along with underground command bunkers and other infrastructure.

“The scale of construction is startling, and China broke ground on the site only a few months ago, in February,” Lewis noted.

On Wednesday, the Washington Post had also mentioned in an article that the acquisition of more than 100 new missile silos, if completed, as the actual number of new missiles destined for those silos is unknown and could be decoys, something the Chinese regime has done in the past, would represent a historic sea change for China, which until now is believed to possess a relatively ‘modest’ arsenal of between 250 and 350 nuclear weapons. 

According to the study, the new silos are sized to accommodate China’s DF-41 ICBMs, a relatively new missile design capable of reaching the U.S. with multiple warheads. 

The regime’s strategy of using empty decoy silos, leaving only a few loaded with missiles at any given time, would seem to make it difficult for adversaries in wartime to know which silos to target. 

This suggests that China’s new silos are intended to begin with a deterrent strike against Western powers. Even U.S. analysts say China is also investing in mobile missile launchers that would be difficult to reach in a pre-emptive strike.

But Jeffrey Lewis said that even if many silos remain empty and are used as decoys, China’s rapid construction of launch facilities is an “alarming development.”

The fact is that although the U.S. and Russia have much larger nuclear warhead inventories today, China is rapidly approaching the level of capability that the Soviet Union (USSR) had during the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962, a confrontation that could have been ‘apocalyptic’ between Russia and the U.S. had they not found a way out by signing a treaty. 

Although Lewis points out, the current situation is far more worrying than that of the U.S. and USSR during their long standoff, as China has shown no interest in joining arms control negotiations.

In this regard, U.S. Republican representatives, in a recent letter, expressed concern to President Biden about China’s rapid nuclear build-up, as well as the CCP’s unwillingness to engage with the US on honest arms control negotiations. 

Representatives Mike Rogers, Michael McCaul, and Devin Nunes requested that Biden take action and provide appropriate strategies to engage the Chinese regime in “meaningful arms control negotiations, either bilaterally or trilaterally.”

Since the Chinese regime has been refusing to “engage in ‘good faith’ arms reduction negotiations,” even though China is a party to the “Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty” (NPT), the representatives argue that the strategy should include “the full use of our diplomatic, military, intelligence, and sanctions toolbox to bring them to the table.”

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