A new US intelligence report says that China is building up its strategic missile force by converting silo missiles to road-mobile ICBMs.
The Washington Times reports that the assessment also says that North Korea, Iran and Iraq are continuing work on long-range strike weapons.
The report, from The National Intelligence Council, an interagency analysis group based at CIA headquarters, says the future Chinese ballistic missile force "deployed primarily against the United States" will number around 75 to 100 warheads and will be smaller than either US or Russian strategic arsenals.
The report also said North Korea appears to be preparing for a flight test of its long-range Taepo Dong-2 missile, "which is capable of reaching parts of the United States with a nuclear weapon-sized ... payload" of several hundred pounds.
There is a danger some nations could fire short- or medium-range ballistic missiles or cruise missiles from ships close to US coasts.
The report said "Most US intelligence agencies project that during the next 15 years the United States most likely will face intercontinental ballistic missile threat from North Korea, Iran and possibly Iraq, ... in addition to the strategic forces of Russia and China".
The report was issued in response to requests from the Senate Intelligence Committee to produce annual threat assessments.
The intelligence council report is a consensus view of the CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, State Department intelligence and military intelligence units.
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