Researchers in the US said they have gathered evidence that China is expanding its ability to store and launch missiles, amid concerns it is amassing more nuclear capacity.
China is building 250 silos for nuclear missiles in “the most significant expansion of the Chinese nuclear arsenal ever,” according to a new report from the Federation of American Scientists (FAS).
Silos are underground facilities used for storing and launching missiles.
The group made the discovery after analysing satellite images from a field in the western Xinjiang province, which they said could house around 110 silos.
It comes after a separate group of researchers discovered another site in Yumen in the neighbouring province of Gansu last month, pinpointing the ongoing construction of 120 silos.
The new site at Hami, around 240 miles north-west of Yumen, was at a much earlier stage of construction, according to the FAS report on Monday.
“China’s “minimum deterrence” posture has historically kept nuclear launchers at a relatively low level. But the Chinese leadership might have decided that it needs more missiles with more warheads to hold more adversarial facilities at risk,” the report said.
“Adding nearly 250 new silos appears to move China out of the “minimum deterrence” category.”