WASHINGTON: Chinese bombers are likely training for strikes against US and allied targets in the Pacific, according to a new Pentagon report that also details how Beijing is transforming its ground forces to “fight and win,” reports AFP.
The annual report to Congress, released Thursday, highlights China’s growing military, economic and diplomatic clout and how Beijing is leveraging this to rapidly build its international footprint and establish regional dominance.In the case of China’s air power, the report states that Chinese bombers are developing capabilities to hit targets as far from China as possible. “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 document states, noting how China is pushing its operations out into the Pacific.
In August 2017, six Chinese H-6K bombers flew through the Miyako Strait in the southwest of the Japanese islands, and then for the first time turned north to fly east of Okinawa, where 47,000 US troops are based.
The PLA may demonstrate the “capability to strike US and allied forces and military bases in the western Pacific Ocean, including Guam,” the report says.
China is engaged in a decades-long build-up and modernization of its once-backward armed forces, and military leaders have set a goal of fielding a world-class military by 2050.