China Practicing Bombing Runs Towards US Island of Guam

A report from Defense News Tuesday revealed that the Chinese have been practicing bombing runs against the island of Guam, a key American territory and military outpost in the Pacific.

The news came as part of a briefing by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, who described the escalating threat from the Chinese in Pacific and called the country a bigger threat than North Korea.

The threat goes far beyond the man-made islands of the South China Sea, which have been a hotspot of military buildup as of late.

Defense News reported that U.S. military officials said that “China has built up its fleet of fighters to the extent that it operates a daily, aggressive campaign to contest airspace over the East China Sea, South China Sea and beyond.”

“The (People’s Republic of China) is practicing attacks on Guam,” officials said, noting that Chinese H-6K Badger Bombers upgraded with extended-range cruise missiles run “not infrequent” missions around Guam.

It’s not just Guam that China is challenging, either; CNBC reported Chinese bombers routinely fly in the vicinity of Hawaii.

Dunford told reporters that’s just part of why China “is very much the long-term challenge in the region.”

In contrast with North Korea, which Dunford has called “a fight we can win,” he worries “about the way things are going” when it comes to Beijing and its military designs on the region.

“When we look at the capabilities China is developing, we’ve got to make sure we maintain the ability to meet our alliance commitments in the Pacific,” Dunford said.

It’s not just the United States that’s feeling the pinch from China’s military moves, either. Japan has had to scramble 900 flights this year as China has continually challenged Japan’s air defense identification zone. In 2013, Beijing issued borders for its own air defense identification zone, which overlapped with Japan’s.

That means Chinese and Japanese military aircraft are coming close to each other on a daily basis, officials said. And that could lead to conflict.

The strategy is to “win without fighting” by consolidating gains like the militarized islands in the South China Sea and normalizing incursions into or near foreign airspace. In his remarks, Dunford seemed to send a message such tactics wouldn’t fly with Washington.

“We view ourselves as a Pacific power,” Dunford said.

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“There are some who try to create a narrative that we are not in the Pacific to stay,” he added. “Our message is that we are a Pacific power. We intend to stay in the Pacific. Our future economic prosperity is inextricably linked to our security and political relationships in the region.”

And that’s a message China needs to hear.

H/T U.K. Sun

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