US raises alarm over China’s nuclear expansion, raises questions on intent

120720-O-ZZ999-017 PACIFIC OCEAN (July 20, 2012) The Royal New Zealand Navy fleet oiler HMNZS Endeavour (A11), center, refuels the Royal New Zealand Navy frigate HMNZS Te Kaha (F77), left, and the Republic of Korean destroyer ROKS Choi Young (DDH 981). Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in the biennial RIMPAC exercise from June 29 to Aug. 3, in and around the Hawaiian Islands. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2012 is the 23rd exercise in the series that began in 1971. (New Zealand Defence Force photo by LAC Amanda McErlich/Released)

The United States has expressed deep concerns about China’s nuclear buildup, which includes the development of new silos for intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). The US has accused China of engaging in a rapid buildup of its nuclear capabilities, and it has raised questions about China’s intent in doing so.

According to reports, China has been constructing more than 100 new silos for ICBMs in its western desert region. The US Department of Defense has described this as a “significant expansion” of China’s nuclear forces.

The US has also criticized China for its lack of transparency and called on the country to engage in meaningful dialogue to reduce the risk of a nuclear arms race. The US has further urged China to join negotiations on nuclear arms control and to provide more information about its nuclear arsenal.

China has denied any intention of engaging in a nuclear arms race and has accused the US of provocation and hyping up the issue. China has further stated that its nuclear capabilities are for defensive purposes only and that it is committed to a policy of no first use of nuclear weapons. However, the US remains deeply concerned about China’s nuclear buildup and its potential impact on regional and global security.

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