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Pentagon: China Boosts Nuclear Readiness

Beijing adds 130 bombers in past year and trained for strikes on U.S. bases

China added significant numbers of bombers to its military forces in the past year as part of a large-scale military buildup targeting the United States, a Pentagon’s report on the Chinese military says.

The annual report to Congress also reveals that China’s People’s Liberation Army increased long-range bomber flights further from Chinese coasts and conducted training for airstrikes against the U.S. bases in Asia.

“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 U.S. and allied targets,” the report said.

This year’s report, made public Thursday night, is 30-pages longer than the 2017 version and highlights China’s growing asymmetric warfare capabilities. Those capabilities include space weapons, advanced cyber attack capabilities, information warfare tools, and electronic warfare systems designed for short, high-intensity conflicts.

“China is advancing a comprehensive military modernization program aimed at making the PLA into a ‘world-class’ military by 2049,” the report said. “This program includes improvements to military capabilities to conduct nuclear deterrence, anti-access/area denial (A2/AD), and power projection operations.”

One striking disclosure in the report is the buildup of Chinese bombers.

Over the past year, the number of Chinese bombers and strike aircraft increased by 130, from 400 bombers in 2016 year to 530 bombers last year.

Special mission aircraft, such as transport and refueling planes, also increased by 15.

China also expanded its coast guard forces adding 55 coast guard ships to its forces. The increase likely reflects China’s efforts to seek to control contested waters in the South China Sea and East China Sea.

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