China's modernized military could threaten Taiwan, U.S. report says

China's aircraft carrier Liaoning takes part in a military drill in the western Pacific Ocean

Report: China has some of world's most advanced weapons, remains 'long way' from US military

USA defense officials wrote China is building its force to ensure its regional prowess and work toward its No. 1 goal - the reunification of mainland China and Taiwan.

Artillery and assault helicopters fired at targets off the west coast city of Taichung, while French-made Mirage fighter jets took off amid rainy conditions from the airbase at Hsinchu to the north.

Amid increasing tensions with Beijing, the Pentagon on Tuesday released a new report that lays out USA concerns about China's growing military might, underscoring worries about a possible attack against Taiwan.

On Tuesday, just as the DIA report was released, a top Chinese military official warned Adm. John Richardson, the U.S. Navy's top officer, that the United States should not support an independent Taiwan, according to the South China Morning Post newspaper.

The US, of course, is alarmed at the prospect of losing its military and economic supremacy over China in the ongoing shadow-boxing in the Indo-Pacific, where Beijing is also assiduously using its multi-billion-dollar One Belt, One Road (OBOR) and Digital Silk Road initiatives to make deep strategic inroads and shape interests.

"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 modernization", DIA Director Robert Ashley wrote. "The PLAN has expanded the scope and frequency of extended-range naval deployments, military exercises, and engagements", it said.

"If someone tries to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese military will do whatever it takes to safeguard national reunification, national sovereignty and territorial integrity", according to an English-language statement by China's defense ministry on the talks.

Xi has not ruled out the use of military force against Taiwan and called independence for the nation a "dead end".

In a January 2 speech, on the anniversary of a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) policy statement on cross-strait relations, Xi said "China must and will be united" with Taiwan.

The report detailed China's immediate intentions to modernize to the level of other leading militaries, including the USA military, for the objective of invading Taiwan.

President Donald Trump's ill-advised trade wars with America's trading partners may have cost US taxpayers and corporations over $13 billion, reports Bloomberg News. Xi responded by imposing penalties on $110 billion of American goods.

China is also improving its existing domestic airfields to handle heavier payloads, constructing airfields on islands and outposts in the resource-rich South China Sea, and restructuring airfields to support military and civilian use, it said, adding as of June 2016, about one-third of China's airports supported military and civilian use.

Last October, tens of thousands of Taiwan independence campaigners took to the streets in the first large-scale protest calling for an outright independence vote since the island first became a democracy more than 20 years ago.

Taiwan army launch LT-2000 rockets during the drill.

"In 2019 we can expect Xi Jinping to repeat his threats to Taiwan, which will be echoed by China's propaganda organs and reinforced by PLA air and naval intimidation exercises around Taiwan".

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