The Pentagon says the Chinese military is likely training for strikes on US targets. That's according to a military report released Thursday, coming less than a day after the two sides said they would hold talks over a rising trade war. The report points out that the People's Liberation Army has quickly expanded out its bombing areas over the ocean.
Beijing's been spreading its influence for years in disputed ares of the South China Sea. But earlier this year, the Chinese Air Force landed bombers on islands and reefs there as part of training. Thursday's report said it was not clear what message Beijing aim to send by expanding those flights beyond, quote, a demonstration of improved capabilities.
It also noted that Beijing's defense spending hit $190 billion last year. And that number's only set to rise, even during an economic slowdown in China. That's not all. The Pentagon says China's military capacity in space is on the rise, too. Despite what the report calls a public stance from Beijing against the militarization of space.
This month, President Donald Trump's White House announced a plan to usher in a space force, the sixth branch of the military by 2020. One of the arguments in favor of a space force is that US rivals like China appear increasingly ready to strike US targets in space if a conflict breaks out.