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Andreas Kluth

To Avoid a Nuclear Arms Race With China, the U.S. Needs Russia

As Nixon went to China to triangulate against the Soviet Union, Biden should go to Moscow to do the same against Beijing.

Beware the Chinese grip.

Beware the Chinese grip.

Photographer: Dmitry Lovetsky/AFP via Getty Images

Was the revelation shocking or not? It’s hard to say. On the face of it, the new satellite evidence should have all of us gasping. China appears to be building between 100 and 200 silos to store and potentially launch intercontinental missiles with nuclear warheads. We previously knew of only about 20 sites.

The obvious inference is that China under President Xi Jinping is bent on building out its nuclear arsenal even faster than we thought. America’s Pentagon works on the assumption that China, which is estimated to have between 320 and 350 nukes already, will double its stockpile this decade. Depending on your assumptions about missiles per silo and warheads per missile, the new information means that the actual objective could be not a doubling but a quintupling or more.