The Pentagon and several Republican congressmen expressed concerns over China's build-up of its nuclear forces on Tuesday (July 27) amid reports of 110 additional missile silos being built in Beijing.
The Federation of American Scientists shared satellite images showing a new field of silos near Hami in the eastern part of its Xinjiang region on Monday (July 26), which came weeks after another report on the construction of about 120 missile silos in Yumen, a desert area about 240 miles southeast, NBC News reports.
"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 U.S. Strategic Command said in tweet sharing a New York Times article on the AFS report.
Earlier this month, the State Department referred to China's nuclear buildup as concerning and claimed Beijing appeared to be departing from decades of nuclear strategy based around minimal deterrence.
The department also called on China to have open dialogue with it for "practical measures to reduce the risks of destabilizing arms races."
Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio), a ranking member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, called China's nuclear build-up efforts "unprecedented" and said their actions were a clear effort to deploy "nuclear weapons to threaten the United States and our allies," while also noting that China's refusal to negotiate arms control "should be a cause for concern and condemned by all responsible nations."
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, also expressed concerns for the nuclear build-up, claiming it showed the need to rapidly modernize the U.S. nuclear deterrent.
A 2020 Pentagon report had previously estimated China's nuclear stockpile to be in "the low 200s" and was expected to double in size as Beijing planned to expand and modernize its forces, NBC News reports.
The U.S. is projected to have around 3,800 warheads, including 1,357 that were deployed as of March 1, according to a State Department factsheet obtained by NBC News.