CHINA’S nuclear arsenal is being “rapidly expanded” in response to what they see as a US threat, experts say.
Those close to the Chinese leadership say they plan to have more than 1,000 nuclear warheads by the end of the decade.
It comes as worrying satellite imagery shows more than 100 suspected missile silos Chinaremote western region.
According to military experts, the silos could house nuclear-tipped missiles that could reach the US.
They say the build-up comes as China fears being ousted by Washington and has been startled by anti-Chinese rhetoric, according to the Trump and Biden administration Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
American military officials fear the move could mean Beijing is preparing a surprise nuclear strike against the US – something China flatly denies.
Beijing is veiling its nuclear ambitions under the guise of updating its aging arsenal and has promised an increase no larger than necessary to protect the country’s security interests.
She doesn’t want to be “pushed around” by the US, a Communist Party insider claims, citing Ukraine and its decision to dump its nuclear weapons against security guarantees from the US and Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
“Ukraine has lost its nuclear deterrent in the past and that’s why it got into this kind of situation,” a retired Chinese military officer with ties to the nuclear program told WSJ.
An insider with close ties to the Chinese leadership said the strategic change in nuclear plans was because their “inferior nuclear capability could only lead to growing US pressure” on Beijing.
Beijing denies its nuclear policy has changed, but satellite images of secret missile silos in Yumen suggest otherwise.
Images taken in January show the last 45 makeshift covers removed from the 120-missile facility, suggesting the most sensitive work has been completed, said Matt Korda, a senior researcher at a nuclear weapons think tank in Washington.
According to US intelligence agencies, work on the field began between March and October 2020.
The silos are large enough to house new Chinese long-range missiles, known as the DF-41.
China has declined to answer questions about the site, while President Xi Jinping urged officials at the facility to “accelerate construction of advanced strategic deterrent systems” — an ominous reference to nuclear weapons.
The deadly weapons have become China’s weapon of choice because of their ability to hit the US mainland, analysts say, and Beijing has been spurred by Washington’s reluctance to lead Russia directly over Ukraine over its nuclear weapons.
But Beijing has denied such claims.
“As for claims by US officials that China is dramatically expanding its nuclear capabilities, I would first like to say that this is not true,” said Fu Cong, director-general of the foreign ministry.
He says Beijing is working to ensure its nuclear deterrent meets the minimum necessary for the country’s defence.
Some security analysts say China may be emboldened to use nuclear weapons to keep the US from joining a conflict over Taiwan.
But all of this comes with a massive downside, said Professor Christopher Twomey of the US Naval Postgraduate School.
“A large-scale conventional military engagement over Taiwan could quickly lead one side or the other to persuade themselves that using nuclear weapons could improve their side’s situation,” he said.
“No matter how the situation develops in the future, the world will be more confrontational,” said the retired Chinese military official.
“Under such circumstances, China is imperative to maintain nuclear deterrence.”
https://www.the-sun.com/news/5089784/inside-chinas-arsenal-of-nukes/ In China’s nuclear arsenal as it “rapidly expands” its weapon numbers in response to the US threat.