Beijing’s nuclear breakout should dispel any notion that the risk of nuclear Armageddon is long past.

There are worrying signs the world is on the brink of a new nuclear arms race. A regional conflict between nuclear-armed states could escalate quickly into a destructive global crisis with catastrophic consequences.

Fear that a conflict between the US and China over Taiwan could go nuclear is shaping the government’s risk assessments, strengthening the case to upgrade our missile defences for critical defence installations and operationally deployed units of the Australian Defence Force.

The immediate cause for concern is China’s apparent decision to build as many as 250 new silos for its nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles in two remote areas of northwest China near the Mongolian border.

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