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Why is China expanding its capability to launch nuclear missiles?

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US scientists are warning that China is expanding its capacity to both store and launch nuclear missiles following leaked satellite images

A team of US researchers say China appears to be expanding its nuclear arsenal. The report found that China is building a second field of missile silos in the desert. This calls into question Beijing’s “minimum deterrence” strategy.

The Hami missile silo field covers an area of about 800 square kilometers and is in the early phases of construction. 

Silos are underground facilities used to store missiles. The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) says the new missile base in China’s Xinjiang region could have up to 110 of them.

This comes after researches uncovered another silo field earlier this month. TheJames Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies reports that there appear to be a total of 120 silos under construction in the nearby province of Gansu.

 A satellite image from Planet Labs shows what researchers say are missile silos under construction in the Chinese desert.
A satellite image from Planet Labs shows what researchers say are missile silos under construction in the Chinese desert.

“The most significant expansion of the Chinese nuclear arsenal ever”

This follows the Pentagon flagging back in 2020 that China was moving to double its stockpile of nuclear weapons.

Last year, the Pentagon said China planned to double its stockpile of nuclear warheads, from a low base.

The US Strategic Command says “this is the second time in two months the public has discovered what we have been saying all along about the growing threat the world faces and the veil of secrecy that surrounds it”.

The Hami missile silo field domes are identical to silo domes at the Yumen missile silo field and the Jilantai training area.

Read more about China here.

William is an Executive News Producer at TICKER NEWS, responsible for the production and direction of news bulletins. William is also the presenter of the hourly Weather + Climate segment. With qualifications in Journalism and Law (LLB), William previously worked at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) before moving to TICKER NEWS. He was also an intern at the Seven Network's 'Sunrise'. A creative-minded individual, William has a passion for broadcast journalism and reporting on global politics and international affairs.

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