USA report says rapidly modernizing Chinese military has set sights on Taiwan

Army members march to the flagpole during the flag-raising ceremony at the Tiananmen Square on New Years Day Jan. 1 2019 in Beijing China

"Space and counterspace capabilities - like missile forces, advanced air and seapower, and cyber capabilities - are critical for China to fight and win modern military engagements", writes the Defense Intelligence Agency in its report, which was released Tuesday.

The Chinese rail network has about 100,000 kilometers of track, 10,000 kilometers of which is high-speed track supporting trains running at up to 250 kilometers per hour, the Pentagon said in its 2019 "China Military Power" report. "Domestic laws forced foreign partners of Chinese-based joint ventures to release their technology in exchange for entry into China's lucrative market, and China has used other means to secure needed technology and expertise", Ashley said.

The senior United States 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. The U.S.is Taiwan's chief source of military hardware and is legally bound to respond to threats against its security.

The official also cautioned that China's military still faced gaps in its capabilities.

A senior defense official said the United States was concerned that China's increased capabilities may lead its military commanders to advise its political leaders that they were confident of military success with regard to a campaign against Taiwan.

After making some of the most advanced weapons in the world China is in the cusp of imposing its will in the region, which includes India.

China-US trade talks have laid foundation for a deal, ministry says
Mofcom spokesman Gao Feng said that these issues were an important item of the negotiations, and that progress has been made. Originally meant to last only two days, continuing developments prompted negotiators to extend the talks for another day.

"The biggest concern is that ... 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 president. "In some areas, it already leads the world".

Soldiers from Taiwan's special forces move through colored smoke during a military exercise in Taipei, Taiwan.

"We make no promise to give up the use of military force and reserve the option of taking all necessary means" against Taiwanese separatist activities and "outside forces" that interfere with reunification, he said.

Xi has stepped up pressure on the democratic island since Tsai Ing-wen from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party became president in 2016. "I think that they are fairly comfortable with the progress they've made in building out this infrastructure down there, and then working on negotiations with the other claimant states over a longer term", the senior defense official said.

The ministry reiterated that Taiwan is an independent, sovereign nation, a fact that would not be changed by China's actions, saying that such acts of bullying would only further "widen the rift between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait". "The challenge, of course, is for measuring against a globally active USA military that has many different missions and many different tasks, so I think there's a very long way for the PLA to reach that level".

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