China Boosting Bomber Operations for Strikes against U.S., Japan: Pentagon

Politics

Washington, Aug. 16 (Jiji Press)--The Chinese military is expanding its overwater bomber operations apparently as part of training for strikes against the United States and its allies including Japan, a U.S. Department of Defense annual report suggested Thursday.

"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 U.S. and allied targets," said the 2018 report.

The report on military and security developments involving China said that in 2015 the Chinese air force started flying the H-6K bomber, capable of a nuclear strike, into the western Pacific Ocean, beyond the so-called "first island chain" linking the southernmost Japan prefecture of Okinawa, Taiwan and the Philippines.

"The PLA may continue to extend its operations beyond the first island chain, demonstrating the capability to strike U.S. and allied forces and military bases in the western Pacific Ocean, including Guam," the report said.

China aims to gain air and maritime control through the second island chain, which stretches from the Izu Islands, south of Tokyo, to Guam, people familiar with the situation said.

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Jiji Press