The United States is gravely concerned about China’s new long-range nuclear bombers that can target previously unreachable US military bases in the Pacific, according to a new report.
The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission warns in its annual report that China is “rapidly expanding and diversifying” its ability to strike US bases, ships and aircraft throughout the Pacific, even places like Guam that were previously out of reach, The Foreign Policy magazine reported on Wednesday.
The House Armed Services Committee is set to discuss China’s Hongzha-6K bomber at a hearing on Wednesday when members of the commission will testify about their report.
The US military has made Guam a key strategic military hub in the western Pacific as part of Washington’s new “pivot” strategy of realigning American forces toward Asia.
The report warned that China has become increasingly aggressive in the way it handles issues with US allies such as the Philippines and Japan.
“Although sovereignty disputes in the East and South China Seas are not new, China’s growing diplomatic, economic, and military clout is improving China’s ability to assert its interests,” according to the report.
“It is increasingly clear that China does not intend to resolve the disputes through multilateral negotiations or the application of international laws and adjudicative processes but instead will use its growing power in support of coercive tactics that pressure its neighbors to concede to China’s claims,” it added.
China’s new drone, which resembles the MQ-9 Reaper, can be armed with Hellfire missiles, bombs and other weapons.
The commission also warned about the growth of the Chinese navy.
“By 2020, barring a US naval renaissance, it is possible that China will become the world’s leading military shipbuilder in terms of the numbers of submarines, surface combatants and other naval surface vessels produced per year,” said the report, citing Chinese military experts Andrew Erickson and Gabe Collins.
This is while the United States has planned to conduct more joint military exercises in western Pacific and encircle China with a chain of small air bases and military ports.
China is considering the Pentagon’s focus on the “pivot” to the Asia-Pacific as a strategy to counter China’s increasing global influence.
Beijing says American militarism in the region could endanger peace, urging Washington to abstain from flexing its muscles.