U.S. report says rapidly modernizing Chinese military has set sights on Taiwan

China is rapidly building robust lethal force to impose its will in the region US official

Speaking to reporters in Washington on Tuesday, a senior defense official admitted that he was anxious about China now having the confidence to pull off major military moves - such as invading Taiwan.

"China urges the U.S. military to reasonably and objectively treat China's military development and safeguard the military ties between the two countries", she added.

The drills follow intelligence from the United States over China's growing military might, with concern growing that Taiwan may become a target.

In mid-2016, China allocated United States dollars 600 billion as part of a three-year plan (2016-2018) to continue improving its transportation network and passed the Defence Transportation Law (DTL) authorising the management, development and production of dual-use facilities and equipment to support national and regional PLA operations, the report said.

The Djibouti base, where China is now constructing a 450-meter pier capable of berthing at four warships by mid-2019, and "probable follow-on bases at other locations" signal "a turning point" in the expansion of operations of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and beyond, warns the Pentagon report.

Taiwan's independence-leaning President Tsai Ing-wen has made national defense a priority while refusing China's demand that she recognise Taiwan as a part of China.

"Beijing's anticipation that foreign forces would intervene in a Taiwan scenario led the PLA to develop a range of systems to deter and deny foreign regional force projection", the report stated.

"These bases, and other improvements to the PLA's ability to project power during the next decade, will increase China's ability to deter the use of conventional military force, sustain operations overseas, and hold strategic economic corridors at risk", it says.

Chinese advancements in some technology will soon be among the world's most leading-edge.

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These include submarines, anti-ship and anti-air missiles.

"The result ... is a PLA on the verge of fielding some of the most modern weapon systems in the world".

But China is spending less on research and development because it has either bought or nicked technology from other countries.

The government yesterday said that it would not bow to Chinese pressure and called for the support of the worldwide community against China's "out-of-control actions" after Beijing urged Apple, Amazon.com and other foreign companies to change the way they refer to Taiwan.

DIA Director Robert Ashley said: "Beijing's longstanding interest to eventually compel Taiwan's reunification with the mainland and deter any attempt by Taiwan to declare independence has served as the primary driver for China's military modernisation".

"Preparation for war and combat must be deepened to ensure an efficient response in times of emergency", he was quoted as saying.

"As Xi Jinping and the CCP leadership become more confident in the PLA's gathering ability to invade Taiwan, we can expect their threats to become more strident", Fisher said.

Taiwan is well equipped with mostly U.S. weapons but has been pressing for more advanced gear due to the menacing threat of China.

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