NEW YORK — Satellite images recently revealed that China is busy building 10 times more nuclear missile silos than it had before.
However, analysts say everything may not be what it seems. Here are the details: The New York Times reports that analysts have found a second new missile base in China, only days after another new base was found.
Identified via satellite imagery, the new missile base in China's Xinjiang region may eventually include 110 silos, according to a report by the Federation of American Scientists, or FAS.
It is the second apparent silo field uncovered this month by researchers, adding to 120 silos that appear to be under construction in the neighboring province of Gansu.
For decades, China has operated around 20 silos for its liquid-fueled ICBMs, called the DF-5.
Now, it appears to be building 10 times more, possibly for housing its newest ICBM, the DF-41, according to the FAS report.
The New York Times says the new silos are clearly being built to be discovered.
The most recent silo field is in the eastern part of the Xinjiang region, not far from one of China's notorious Uyghur "re-education" camps in the city of Hami.
The road network linking the different silo construction sites also makes the area look suspiciously like a massive nuclear base on satellite images.
For decades, China has maintained only around 300 nuclear weapons.
But that appears to be changing under President Xi Jinping.
At the same time that China is cracking down on dissent at home, asserting new control over Hong Kong, threatening Taiwan, and making far more aggressive use of cyberweapons, it is also headed into new territory with nuclear weapons.