China has more ICBM launchers than US, senior general tells lawmakers


According to a letter to Congress, a senior U.S. military official informed lawmakers in January that China has more land-based fixed and mobile intercontinental ballistic missile launchers than the United States.

China’s inventory of land-based fixed and mobile ICBM launchers “exceeds the number of ICBM launchers in the United States” as of October 2022, the letter from Gen. Anthony Cotton, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, which oversees U.S. nuclear weapons, said.

The letter also states that China does not have more ICBMs or nuclear warheads than the US.

A joint statement released Tuesday by the Republican leaders of the congressional Armed Services Committees called the letter a “wake-up call for America.”

“It is not an exaggeration to say that China’s nuclear modernization program is moving faster than most people think. We have our own nuclear power to deter both Russia and China. “There is no time to waste in adjusting the position. This will mean greater numbers and new capabilities,” the statement said.

Details of the letter were first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Although the U.S. has more nuclear weapons than China, Beijing’s efforts to modernize and expand its nuclear capabilities have alarmed lawmakers and caught the attention of U.S. military leaders.

News of the letter comes as tensions between the US and China escalate over a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon shot down by the US military in the Atlantic Ocean on Saturday. As a result of the balloon, Secretary of State Anthony Blanken postponed his planned visit to Beijing, calling the balloon’s presence over the continental United States “a clear violation of US sovereignty and international law”.

China has maintained that the balloon’s entry into the US was “totally an accident” and said on Sunday that China “reserves the right to make further necessary responses.”

ICBMs are a key element in the U.S. nuclear triad, which includes land-based and air-to-sea nuclear delivery systems. According to the Department of Defense, they are divided into 400 “hardened, underground silos” and another 50 silos are kept in a “warm” state.

The U.S. arsenal includes more than a dozen submarines capable of launching ballistic missiles and a fleet of nuclear-capable bombers.

America’s stockpile of nuclear weapons is greater than China’s. In 2022, the United States had a total of more than 5,000 nuclear warheads, of which 1,644 were deployed, according to the Federation of American Scientists. Meanwhile, China recently surpassed 400. And while the stockpile gap is significant, a Pentagon report released in November said China is rapidly building its nuclear stockpile, and if it keeps up, it could have about 1,500 nuclear warheads by 2035. There may be heads. speed

“We’re seeing, I think, a set of capabilities taking shape and new numbers in terms of what they want to achieve that raises some questions about that,” a senior defense official told reporters. Let’s see what their intentions are in the long run,” a senior defense official told reporters. Time

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