China’s military “is likely training for strikes” against US and allied targets in the Pacific, a Pentagon report warns.
The annual report to Congress says China is increasing its ability to send bomber planes further afield.
The report highlights its increasing military capability, including defence spending estimated at $190bn (£150bn) – a third that of the US.
China has not yet commented on the report.
“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 US and allied targets,” the report says.
It goes on to say it is not clear what China is trying to prove by such flights.
The People’s Liberation Army may demonstrate the “capability to strike US and allied forces and military bases in the western Pacific Ocean, including Guam,” the report adds.
China, it says, is transforming its ground forces to “fight and win.”
“The purpose of these reforms is to create a more mobile, modular, lethal ground force capable of being the core of joint operations,” the report says.