Pentagon says China military 'likely training for strikes' on U.S. targets

Pentagon says China military 'likely training for strikes' on U.S. targets

Pentagon says China military 'likely training for strikes' on U.S. targets

The Chinese military is developing long-range bombers and is likely training pilots for missions to hit US targets, a new Pentagon report says.

The suggestion is contained in a report that says China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) recently expanded its bomber operations.

The defense expenditure is expected to rise to $240 billion over 10 years.

The report also found that China is advancing "an ambitious agenda of military modernization and organizational reforms".

"Over the last three years, the PLA has rapidly expanded its over water bomber operating areas, gaining experience in critical maritime regions and likely training for strikes against United States and allied targets", the report said.

And China has been expanding what appear to be military facilities on islands in the South China Sea and has landed bombers on the outposts during training exercises.

The Pentagon report says the Chinese air force has been "re-assigned" a nuclear mission.

Pentagon's report says: "The goal of these reforms is to create a more mobile, modular, lethal ground force capable of being the core of joint operations".

China's defence spending exceeded $190bn in 2017 as the one-party socialist republic seeks to project military power on the worldwide stage, the report said.

And there also fears the Asian superpower's rocket programme could be a cover for some kind of futuristic "star wars" military project in space.

Activities around Taiwan and in the East and South China Sea are also alarming given Beijing's contested interests in these areas.

China has yet to comment on the report.

"The PLA continues to strengthen its military space capabilities despite its public stance against the militarisation of space", it said.

Beijing's been spreading its influence for years in disputed areas of the South China Sea.

China's military budget for 2017 was about US$190 billion (S$260 billion), according to the report, far behind the Pentagon's annual budget of about US$700 billion.

China's military modernisation is primarily aimed at preventing any USA intervention in the Taiwan Strait and protecting its energy supplies coming through the IOR, but India certainly needs to keep its guard up.

The Pentagon suspects that China might be training for strikes against USA targets as well as sending a message to other regional actors that Chinese capabilities are improving.

Officially, China advocates for a peaceful reunification with Taiwan, but it has never repudiated the use of military force, the document notes.

"Should the United States intervene, China would try to delay effective intervention and seek victory in a high-intensity, limited war of short duration", the report warns.

The US is watching these developments closely, as the Pentagon believes that "great power competition, not terrorism, is now the primary focus of US national security", as Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis explained earlier this year.

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