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China building second nuclear base in Xinjiang according to new satellite images | World | News

The new silo complex is being constructed around 240 miles from another silo development spotted a few weeks ago near the city of Yumen.

Commenting on the images, Matt Korda and Hans Kristensen, researchers at the Federation of American Scientists, told the New York Times the sites represent “the most significant expansion of the Chinese nuclear arsenal ever.”

They said: “The number of new Chinese silos under construction exceeds the number of silo-based ICBMs operated by Russia, and constitutes more than half of the size of the entire US ICBM force.

“The Chinese missile silo programme constitutes the most extensive silo construction since the US and Soviet missile silo construction during the Cold War.”

The satellite images suggest around 110 silos could be built at Hami and another 120 at Yumen.

Researchers said the developments would increase the amount of potential known ICBM fixed launch points in China by around tenfold.

However, while the new silo complex poses a huge threat to China’s enemies, experts say the silos don’t necessarily have to be filled with nukes.

Vipin Narang, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor who specializes in nuclear strategy, told the Indian Express: “Just because you build the silos doesn’t mean you have to fill them all with missiles.

“They can move them around.”

READ MORE: China will ‘use nuclear bombs’ if Japan intervenes with Taiwan

In 1964, China declared its ‘No first use’ (NFU) policy – promising not to use nuclear weapons as a means of warfare unless first attacked by another adversary using nuclear weapons.

The NFU policy also prohibits China from dropping weapons of mass destruction on countries not equipped with nuclear weapons.

Japan does not own any nuclear weapons of its own but supports the potential use of US nuclear weapons on its behalf.

By contrast, NATO has rejected calls to adopt an NFU policy under the argument that a ’pre-emptive nuclear strike’ is a key option.

Earlier this month, Chinese president Xi Jinping warned foreign nations will “get their heads bashed bloody” if they attempt to interfere with China.

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