China’s new missile silo raises concerns about war over Taiwan

New Delhi — China is building 120 new silos for intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) near the northwestern desert city of Yumen, with significant expansion of nuclear forces and Taiwan-related relations between China and the United States. It raises concerns about conflict.

Construction of these silos began in March 2020 and has undergone rapid large-scale assembly since February 2021. According to satellite image analysis by the James Martin Non-Proliferation Center, a Chinese DF capable of carrying multiple silos. -41 May be targeted at ICBM. Research at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (CNS / MIIS) in Monterey.

“Adding to the number of silos under construction at other sites across China totals 144 under-construction silos,” said Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asian Non-Proliferation Program at CNS / MIIS, on his blog. , Arms control wonk.. “China believes it is expanding its nuclear force to withstand the first US attack and maintain deterrence capable of defeating enough retaliation to defeat US missile defense. . “

Lewis said he was “strongly inclined” to the interpretation that China was probably building a large number of silos to “complicate US capabilities” to target China’s ICBM forces.

S. Chandrashekhar, a former scientist at the Indian Space Research Organization and dealing with satellites and rockets, space technology applications, especially remote sensing, may need silos to increase the viability of China’s ICBMs. I told the Epoch Times. The Chinese may want some of these missiles to protect underground tunnels with launch silos.

“They may also use railroads and others [forms of transportation]—We are moving them to increase survival, “he added, adding that during the Cold War the United States and even the Soviet Union and Russia used such an approach.

“All of these reported are logical extensions of the plans China has been promoting for some time,” he said.

Performed for two years by Hans Kristensen, in addition to Tammon’s new silo, American Federation of Scientists During February.

The Epoch Times was unable to independently verify whether the 144 new silos under construction in China contained the 16 silos identified by Kristensen.

Epoch Times Photo
China’s new DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missile that can reportedly reach the United States will be seen at Tiananmen Square on October 1, 2019, at a parade celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. .. , In Beijing, China. (Kevin Flyer / Getty Images)

Possibility of US-China conflict

Dr. Kunal Singh, a doctoral candidate studying nuclear weapons at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Department of Political Science, said in an email in The Epoch Times that the increase in silos is making Chinese leaders more serious about their potential. He said he saw it showing. Of the US-China conflict over the next few years.

“Such a dispute could remain restricted, but it could escalate even if none of the parties wanted it,” Shin said. “China does not have nuclear equivalence with the United States. It is believed that China has enough nuclear warheads to threaten retaliation after the United States first attacked.”

Abhishek Darbey, a researcher at the New Delhi-based China Center for Analytical Strategy, told the Epoch Times by phone that the United States has about 5,500 nuclear weapons and China has about 350 nuclear weapons.

“There is a big gap,” Derbay said. “In terms of deployment, the United States has about 1,376 nuclear weapons at a time, while China has 50-70 ICBMs.”

Mr Singh said this equivalence shows that China does not have a large number of backup units, and building silos would be of missiles in these silos if the United States decided to attack China first. He said it was a way to ensure that much was wasted.

“These silos have the potential to absorb a large number of US missiles, which we hope China can keep mobile missiles safer,” Shin said. More likely, and therefore Beijing cannot just rest on the viability of its wafer-thin second strike. “

According to the CIA, China’s current development of a road-mobile solid fuel ICBM unit was triggered by the deployment of the Trident IID5 missile by the US Navy in the Pacific, Kristensen said.

“This behavioral and responsive dynamics is most likely a factor in China’s current modernization,” he said.

Chandrashekhar said China is sending a clear message to the world by building more silos.

“The DF31 and DF41 silos may only be to confirm and articulate China’s second strike capability … they have the numbers and maneuverability to survive and retaliate. Let everyone know that you are, “he says. He added that all of these missiles were aimed at the United States.

Epoch Times Photo
A military vehicle equipped with a DF-31AG intercontinental ballistic missile will participate in a military parade at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on October 1, 2019 (Greg Baker / AFP via Getty Images).

“Mobile transport, submarines, aircraft, and other missiles on board ships across China, along with several other platforms and weapons, serve stakeholders in regions such as Japan, Guam, and Taiwan.” Said Chandra Shekar.

In his report, Kristensen states that the US Air Force has 450 silos, of which 400 are on board.

Pressure on the community

According to Shin, if the silo buildup is a preparation for a possible conflict with the United States, it casts doubt on the US allies in the region.

“Indirectly, if the silo indicates that the conflict over Taiwan is coming sooner than expected, it raises many questions in Indo-Pacific countries such as India, Japan and Australia,” Shin said. “Each of us needs to decide what kind of role we should play before and during such a conflict.”

Mr Durbay said US military activity is increasing around China’s east coast, the Taiwan Strait, and the South China Sea. Almost every day, there are American aircraft and ships near the coast of China.

He said such activities would usually be followed by China’s military response and other diplomatic reactions from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“These activities from both sides are escalating in terms of both frequency and severity, which really puts pressure on the Chinese Communist Party,” Derbay said. “The silo is actually creating a deterrent to the United States about the possibility of intervention in the Taiwan Strait, Taiwan, or China.”

The Biden administration also sent an informal delegation to Taiwan in April this year, but the Chinese administration opposed the bilateral agreement signed between the two countries. Derbay said the United States is also militarily supporting Taiwan, which has always frustrated the administration.

However, Chandra Shekar said it is very unlikely that a tense situation will turn into a fierce battle.

“Small conflicts, especially in the South China Sea and East China Sea, Tit-for-Tat, saber rattling, and many media hype-everything will happen,” he said. “Direct war? It’s unlikely.”

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