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China Bolstering Missile, Bomber Capabilities: U.S. Intel

U.S. military findings suggest that China is readying new bombers and missiles that could affect the capabilities of nearby U.S. forces, Bloomberg reports.

China does not appear to have "accelerated" updates to its military assets, but the work is moving forward at a reliable speed, Air Force official Donald Fuell said in an analysis made available on Thursday.

The Chinese army "is progressing at a steady pace" in building new non-nuclear, midrange ballistic missiles, according to Fuell's assessment. The new weapons, he warned, could bolster the distance at which China's military could "conduct precision strikes against land targets and naval ships (including aircraft carriers) operating far from China’s shores out to the first island chain."

"We believe the Chinese are not trying to match the U.S. system vs. system, but are pursuing more of a system-of-systems approach that exploits what they perceive to be adversary weaknesses or exploitable vulnerabilities," according to Fuell, technical director for force modernization and employment at the National Air and Space Intelligence Center.

Recent published assessments from China's People’s Liberation Army indicate "a departure from past PLA writings that heavily focused on the need for pre-emptive operations against U.S. intervention," the official added in comments quoted in a Defense Department press release.

"We feel that this demonstrates, at least to a degree, a growing confidence within the PLA that they can more readily withstand U.S. involvement,” he said.

Fuell said "Chinese analysts note the importance of military on Okinawa and Guam, and these assets and their supporting infrastructure are likely high-priority targets of [China's air force] and Second Artillery." The PLA Second Artillery Corps is responsible for overseeing China's strategic nuclear force.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Naval Intelligence Office warned in a separate report that "many" of Beijing's emerging armed-forces capabilities "are designed specifically to deter or prevent U.S. military intervention in the region," Bloomberg reported.

NTI Analysis

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This article provides an overview of China’s historical and current policies relating to nuclear, chemical, biological and missile proliferation.

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