By Debbie Gregory.
China’s deployment of missiles, able to deliver nuclear warheads to U.S. bases on Guam, is among the military advancements closing the gap with Western military power, according to the Pentagon’s annual report to Congress on China’s military, released on June 6th.
The report came just days after U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis warned China against actions that “impinge on the interests of the international community, undermining the rules-based order that has benefited all countries” at a security forum in Singapore.
After two decades of budget increases, including last year’s 7 percent increase in military spending to $144.3 billion, China claimed its position as the second largest military spender, after the U.S
China’s expertise in building both commercial and military aircraft has improved with work on the C919 commercial airliner and Xian Y-20 military transport.
Their Dongfeng-26 intermediate-range rockets could also be used for conventional strikes against ships in the Western Pacific. The DF-26 joins an arsenal that includes DF-21 “carrier killer” missiles. Boosting its sea power, China’s Jin-class submarines are now equipped with JL-2 submarine launched ballistic missiles.
At a regularly schedule press briefing, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that the Pentagon report had made “irresponsible remarks about China’s defense and development which disregard the facts.” She said China was a force for stability in Asia and elsewhere in the world.
From 2011 to 2015, China ranked as the world’s fourth largest arms exporter, with more than $20 billion in sales. This included $9 billion in sales to Pakistan and other Asian countries. China also sold armed drones to several countries in the Middle East, including Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE.