American officials have routinely scolded China's militarization of the Spratly and Parcel islands, which China claims outright, and tensions have grown in recent years as the United States regularly sails warships through the region on freedom of navigation operations.
In a written introduction accompanying the report, the Defense Intelligence Agency's director, Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, wrote that China has used a variety of means to acquire advanced technology to bolster its military capabilities despite some countries attempting to limit its access to that technology over global concerns about Beijing's human rights policies.
The senior USA defense intelligence official, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity, did not predict that China's military, known as the People's Liberation Army (PLA), would take such a step but said such a possibility was the top worry as China expands and modernizes its military capabilities. "By doing so, China has been able to focus on expediting its military modernization at a small fraction of the original cost", it said.
"The result ... is a PLA on the verge of fielding some of the most modern weapon systems in the world".
"The biggest concern is that they are going to get to - they are getting to a point where the PLA leadership may actually tell Xi Jinping that they are confident in their capabilities", the official said, referring to China's leader.
The People's Liberation Army's efforts to obtain access to commercial ports in Africa, the Middle-East and South Asia would align with its future overseas logistic needs and meet its evolving naval requirements, said the Congressionally-mandated report on the increasing Chinese military power which was released by the US Department of Defence on Tuesday. "In some areas, it already leads the world", the report said.
The report suggested China's fear that foreign forces might attempt to interfere in an operation to take Taiwan has driven the development of "a range of systems to deter and deny foreign regional force projection", such as American carrier strike groups.
Former Packers coach Mike McCarthy to sit out the 2019 season
That was indeed true, as McCarthy and general manager John Dorsey are extremely close from their years together in Green Bay. The Cincinnati Bengals and the Dolphins remain the only teams yet to name their head coach for the 2019 season.
The report said China's "robust, lethal force" could dominate "air, maritime, space and information domains" and undermine USA interest.
Beijing's anti-ship missile-"the world's first road-mobile, anti-ship ballistic missile", according to the DIA report-is of particular concern to US forces, given the importance of American aircraft carriers in projecting power in East Asia.
Taiwan will not bow to Chinese pressure and called for worldwide support against Beijing's "out-of-control actions", a presidential spokesman said on Thursday, after Beijing urged companies to change the way they refer to the self-ruled island.
Xi has stepped up pressure on the democratic island since Tsai Ing-wen from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party became president in 2016. "We reserve the option for all the necessary means".
China's territorial claims in the resource-rich South China Sea are driving major logistic developments in the Spratly and Paracel Islands.
It is still less than the whopping £544billion USA military budget.
"I think both sides have managed to operate professionally".
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