2nd New Nuclear Missile Base To China And Many Questions About It


In the barren desert 1,200 miles west of Beijing, the Chinese government is digging a new site that looks like 110 silos for launching nuclear missiles. This is the second area discovered by analysts examining commercial satellite imagery in recent weeks.

This could mean a massive expansion in China’s nuclear arsenal – a desire to demonstrate an economic and technological superpower’s readiness to use Washington’s or Moscow’s arsenal after decades of restraint.

Or if it’s costly, it might just be a creative bargaining tactic.

New silos are obviously being built to be discovered. The latest silo site, whose construction began in March, is located in the eastern part of Xinjiang province, not far from one of the notorious “re-education” camps in Hami, China. It was detected late last week by nuclear experts at the Federation of American Scientists, using images from the United States. A fleet of Planet Labs satellites, and shared with The New York Times.

For decades, since its first successful nuclear test in the 1960s, China has provided a “minimal deterrence”, which most outside experts rate at around 300 nuclear weapons. (The Chinese don’t, and the US government’s assessments are classified.) If true, that’s less than a fifth of the number deployed by the US and Russia and in the nuclear world, China has always made it look like it’s occupying something. holds a high moral standing, avoiding expensive and dangerous arms races.

But that seems to be changing under President Xi Jinping. While China is suppressing opposition in its own country, at the same time, New claim of control over Hong Kongthreatening Taiwan and using cyber weapons much more aggressively, also heading towards new lands with nuclear weapons.

“The construction of the silo in Yumen and Hami constitutes the most significant expansion of the Chinese nuclear arsenal to date,” said Matt Korda and Hans M. Kristensen. a study on the new silo area. They noted that for decades, China has operated about 20 silos for large, liquid-fueled missiles called the DF-5. But the newly discovered site, hundreds of miles away in Yumen in northeast China, discovered by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Research in Monterey, California, will add roughly 230 new silos to the country. The existence of this first area, which consists of approximately 120 silos, Previously reported by the Washington Post.

The mystery is why China’s strategy has changed.

There are several theories. The simplest is that China now sees itself as a full-fledged economic, technological and military superpower and wants an arsenal suitable for the situation. Another possibility is that China is concerned about the increasingly effective American missile defense systems and India’s rapidly increasing nuclear buildup. Then there is the possibility of announcing new hypersonic and autonomous weapons by Russia and Beijing seeking more effective deterrence.

Third, China is concerned that its few land-based missiles are vulnerable to attack – and by building more than 200 silos spread over two locations, it can play a game of bullets, move 20 or more missiles, and make the United States. States guess where they are. This technique is as old as the nuclear arms race.

“Building silos doesn’t mean you have to fill them all with missiles,” said Vipin Narang, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor who specializes in nuclear strategy. “They can move them.”

And of course, they can trade them. China may believe that sooner or later it will be drawn into arms control talks with the United States and Russia – it tried to force this when President Donald J. Trump said in his last year in office that he would not renew the New START agreement. Unless Russia, China, which has never participated in the control of nuclear weapons, is included. The Chinese government dismissed the idea, saying that if the Americans were that worried, they should reduce their arsenal to four-fifths Chinese levels.

The result was a stalemate. At the very end of the Trump administration, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and arms control ambassador Marshall Billingslea, “We asked Beijing for transparency.and join the United States and Russia in drafting a new arms control treaty covering all categories of nuclear weapons.”

“The time has come for China to drop its stance and start acting responsibly,” they wrote.

But the Biden administration had concluded that it would be unwise to allow New START to end with Russia simply because China refused to participate. After President Biden took office, he moved quickly to renew the agreement with Russia, but his administration said at one point that he wanted China to enter into some kind of agreement.

These conversations have not yet begun. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman is in China this week for the first visit by a top American diplomat since Biden took office, but it’s unclear whether nuclear weapons are on the agenda. It is on the side of nuclear negotiations with Russia.

At the White House, the National Security Council declined to comment on evidence of the expanding Chinese arsenal.

It is likely that American spy satellites received the new construction months ago. But it all appeared after Mr. Korda. research analyst at the Federation of American Scientists, a private group In Washington, he was using civilian satellite imagery to study the arid interior of Xinjiang province, a rugged mountain and desert region in northwest China. He was looking for visual cues of silo construction that matched what the researchers had previously uncovered.

In February, the Federation of American Scientists announced the expansion of missile silos At a military training ground near Jilantai, a city in Inner Mongolia. The group found 14 new silos under construction. Then came the discovery in Yumen.

While scanning the wilderness areas of Xinjiang province, Mr. Korda was specifically looking for inflatable domes, unlike those that house tennis courts. Chinese engineers erect them above the construction sites of underground missile silos to hide the work below. He suddenly found a series of inflatable domes nearly identical to those at Yumen, which turned out to be another sprawling military zone, about 250 miles northwest of the recently discovered base.

The new construction site is located in a remote area that Chinese authorities has separated from most visitors. It is located approximately 60 miles southwest of the city of Hami. reeducation camp Where the Chinese government detained Uighurs and members of other minority groups. And roughly 260 miles east a regular complex from buildings with large roofs that open to the sky. Recently, analysts defined the site Five military bases where Chinese forces are building lasers fire rays consisting of concentrated light sent on reconnaissance satellites, mostly by the United States. Lasers blind or disable sensitive optical sensors.

He works with his colleague Mr Kristensen, a weapons expert. leads the group’s nuclear information projectMr. Korda used satellite photos to explore the site.

The new silos are a little less than two miles apart, their report said. Overall, he added, the sprawling construction site covers roughly 300 square miles—similar to the Yumen base, the same size, but also in the desert.

Mr. Narang said the two new silo sites offer “many options” to the Chinese government.

“It’s not crazy,” he said. “They are targeting the United States as many silos that may be empty. They can slowly fill these silos if they need to increase their strength. And they take advantage of gun control.”

“I’m surprised they didn’t do this ten years ago,” he said.


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *