This Article is From Feb 08, 2023

China Has More Ballistic Missile Launchers Than US, Military Tells Congress

The situation has been highlighted by a letter written by a top US military official, which said China has more ICBM launchers than US.

China Has More Ballistic Missile Launchers Than US, Military Tells Congress

China's DF-41 nuclear-capable ICBMs during a military parade at Tiananmen Square. (AFP File Photo)

The United States military has informed the Congress that China has more land-based fixed and mobile intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launchers than the US, according to a report in Wall Street Journal. The message has come in the form of a letter General Anthony Cotton, commander of US Strategic Command, which oversees the US nuclear arsenal, sent to the Congress on January 26. The letter has, however, said that China does not have more ICBMs or nuclear warheads than the US.

The letter comes at a time when a debate is happening among security experts and politicians in the US about the response to the Chinese balloon that appeared over Montana, where a part of its military's ICBM is deployed.

After the letter was received, Republican leaders of Congress' Armed Services committees issued a joint statement in which it called the document "a wake-up call for the United States".

"It is not an understatement to say that the Chinese nuclear modernisation program is advancing faster than most believed possible. We have no time to waste in adjusting our nuclear force posture to deter both Russia and China. This will have to mean higher numbers and new capabilities," the statement said, according to CNN.

Beijing has been constantly making efforts to modernise its military and increase its nuclear capabilities. China's progress has caught the eye of US military leaders who have warned the government.

ICBMs are an important part of the US military arsenal. According to US Defence Department, they are distributed across 400 "hardened, underground silos" with another 50 silos "kept in 'warm' status".

The US military also has more than a dozen submarines that are capable of launching ballistic missiles, the CNN report further said.

It further said that the US has more than 5,000 nuclear warheads, while China recently surpassed 400.