The Pentagon warned in a startling new report that China is likely training for bombing strikes against U.S. targets, while developing its nuclear capabilities.
The revelations come in the Pentagon’s 2018 report to Congress on “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China” which focuses on developments in 2017.
Overall, the report found that China wants to leverage its economic, diplomatic and strategic strength to “establish regional preeminence and expand the country’s international influence.”
Militarily, the report said the People's Liberation Army (PLA) has been developing capabilities in “overwater bomber operating areas” and is “gaining experience in critical maritime regions and likely training for strikes against U.S. and allied targets.”
This is part of a broader commitment to strengthening the PLA so it can operate farther away from China.
The report also found that China is advancing “an ambitious agenda of military modernization and organizational reforms.” Part of that involves the PLA’s Air Force being reassigned a nuclear mission, which would “provide China with a nuclear ‘triad’ of delivery systems dispersed across land, sea, and air.”
In May, China landed a long-range nuclear-capable bomber on an island in the disputed South China Sea, a move that raised tensions in the region due to a prior commitment by China not to militarize the area.
Tensions have been rising between China and the U.S. for months amid an escalating trade war between the two countries. The Trump administration is also mulling a Space Force in order to counter threats in space from countries including China.
The new report said that China’s space program “continues to mature rapidly” and is also developing counterspace capabilities to “degrade and deny adversary use of space-based assets during a crisis or conflict.”
The report also found that China’s relationship with North Korea has reached “the lowest level in decades” as it works on a dual track approach that uses both dialogue and pressure on the rogue regime over its nuclear capabilities.
Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report.