In Brief

China is ‘training nuclear bombers’, US claims

Pentagon says Chinese military ‘likely training for strikes’ amid trade negotiations

China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has reportedly been expanding its bomber operations, to potentially attack the United States, according to a new Pentagon report.

"Over the last three years, the PLA 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 report says.

The PLA may demonstrate the “capability to strike US and allied forces and military bases in the western Pacific Ocean, including Guam,” the report continues.

CNN reports that the Pentagon document also says that China “is pursuing a nuclear capability on its long-range bombers, saying the Chinese air force ‘has been reassigned a nuclear mission’”.

Reuters says that at the beginning of the year, the Pentagon “put countering Beijing, along with Russia, at the centre of a new national defence strategy”.

However, since then there have been several tests from both sides over the sovereignty of islands in the South China Sea, including US warships conducting freedom of navigation movements around the disputed territory.

The South China Morning Post says Chinese president Xi Jinping “ordered the PLA to step up efforts, saying China needed a military ready to ‘fight and win’ wars”.

The report’s release comes amid an apparent break in ongoing trade tensions between the US and China, with both countries agreeing to come back to the negotiation table in an effort to find a compromise.

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