US Defense Department expresses caution about China's expanding bomber operating areas

19 August, 2018, 22:04 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • Activists protest in front of the Chinese consulate in Manila against Beijing's claims in the South China Sea

"Over the past three years, the army quickly expanded the operating areas, freeboard bombers, gaining experience in critical marine areas and, probably, practicing strikes against targets of the U.S. and its allies", the report says.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said: "By playing up the so-called China's militarisation in the South China Sea, certain people in the U.S. are staging a farce of a thief crying "stop thief".

Much of that budget is focused on developing the capability to unify Taiwan with the mainland by force, the report said, noting that China has never repudiated the use of military force despite its advocacy of "peaceful reunification" with Taiwan.

Chinese bombers are increasingly active and flying farther from China's shores, according to a Department of Defense report released Thursday.

China is deploying "increasingly advance military capabilities meant to coerce Taiwan" in a bid to prevent self-governing Taiwan from declaring independence, CNN reported quoting the report as saying.

There have been mixed diplomatic signals between the two countries in recent months.

The Pentagon report also said China's space program was progressing rapidly.

President Xi Jinping past year ordered the modernisation of the PLA, which at nearly 1.0m troops is the world's largest standing ground force.

China has not yet commented on the report.

More: What is a trade war?

The cancellation was a show of disapproval over what the U.S. sees as China's militarization of the South China Sea.

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.

China's air force has this year landed bombers on islands and reefs in the South China Sea as part of a training exercise in the disputed region. It says Beijing is likely training for strikes against the United States and allied targets.

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.

The new United States report released on Thursday said China was deploying "increasingly advance military capabilities meant to coerce Taiwan" in a bid to prevent the island from declaring independence.

Chinese authorities didn't immediately comment on the document, which was published as the US and China prepare to resume stalled talks after the two nations imposed steep tariffs on each others' exports.

This is not all, there are tensions in the non-military sphere.

Chinese foreign ministry officials have claimed the U.S. is "running amok" in the region.

In addition, to the ire of regional neighbours, China has built a series of islets and ocean features into military facilities in the South China Sea.



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