China is expanding its nuclear forces with a new multiwarhead mobile missile and keeps its strategic stockpiles in deep underground bunkers, the Pentagon disclosed in its annual report to Congress on the Chinese military.
China is thought to have up to 75 long-range nuclear missiles, including hard-to-find, road-mobile DF-31 and DF-31A intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), according to the report, which was released Wednesday. China also has 120 intermediate- and medium-range missiles.
“China is both qualitatively and quantitatively improving its strategic missile forces,” the report states. “Beijing will likely continue to invest considerable resources to maintain a limited nuclear force … to ensure the [People’s Liberation Army] can deliver a damaging retaliatory nuclear strike.”
The report said China’s underground nuclear sites are based on Beijing’s assumption that “it might have to absorb an initial nuclear blow prior to engaging in ‘nuclear counterattack,’” the report says.