China’s military has expanded its bomber operations in recent years while “likely training for strikes” against the United States and its allies, a Pentagon report released on Thursday said. The assessment, which comes at a time of heightened U.S.-China tensions over trade, was contained in an annual report that highlighted China’s efforts to increase its global influence, with defense spending that the Pentagon estimates exceeded $190 billion in 2017, Reuters reports.
“Over the last three years, the PLA [People’s Liberation Army] has rapidly expanded its overwater bomber operating areas, gaining experience in critical maritime regions and likely training for strikes against US and allied targets. The PLA may demonstrate the capability to strike US and allied forces and military bases in the western Pacific Ocean, including Guam.” ~ Pentagon Report
The report also said the overhaul had improved the PLA’s ability to mount air and naval attacks on Taiwan, aiming to deter the island from pursuing independence and eroding Taiwan’s historical advantages in the Taiwan Strait.
The Pentagon report also outlined the military options Beijing could take against Taiwan, ranging from an air and maritime blockade, to force the island to capitulate to air strikes and missile attacks; to a full-scale amphibious invasion of Taiwan and its offshore islands.
NBC News reports that China’s military has expanded its bomber operations in recent years while “likely training for strikes” against the United States and its allies, according to a Pentagon report released Thursday. (145 page Pentagon report)
The Pentagon report said that despite a projected slowdown in economic growth, China’s official defense budget would be more than $240 billion by 2028.
“The PLA continues to strengthen its military space capabilities despite its public stance against the militarization of space,” it said.
This month, President Donald Trump’s administration announced an ambitious plan to usher in a new “Space Force” as the sixth branch of the military by 2020.
One of the arguments in favor of developing such a force is that American rivals like China appear increasingly ready to strike U.S. space-based capabilities in the event of a conflict.
Chris “Badger” Thomas is a Veteran who served our country as an Army Combat Medic.