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Pentagon says China military 'likely training for strikes' on US targets

File photo Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Aug 17, 2018, 10.25 AM (IST)

China's military has expanded its bomber operations in recent years while "likely training for strikes" against the United States and its allies, a Pentagon report released on Thursday said.

The assessment, which comes at a time of heightened US-China tensions over trade, was contained in an annual report that highlighted China's efforts to increase its global influence, with defence spending that the Pentagon estimates exceeded US $190 billion in 2017.

"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 said, using an acronym for China's People's Liberation Army.

The report said that while the PLA had continued to extend operations, it was not clear what message Beijing was seeking to send by carrying out the flights "beyond a demonstration of improved capabilities."

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump signed an almost US $750 billion defence spending bill Monday, while vowing a new "Space Force" would give America dominance over rivals in China and elsewhere.

He specifically mentioned a "new" Chinese military division that oversees space operations.

China has blasted US tariffs on solar panel imports, filing a complaint at the World Trade Organization in the latest salvo of the trade battle between the world's two economic giants.

They will send a negotiator to the US for trade talks this month, AFP reported Thursday morning. 

The two countries have been engaged in a full-blown trade war ever since US President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on a number of Chinese goods.