UK and US conduct first joint drills in South China Sea
China’s military is on the leading edge of some of the world’s most advanced weapons systems according to a Pentagon report published this week, as the US and Britain announced they had conducted their first joint naval drills in the disputed South China Sea.
The Pentagon found that China, the world’s second-largest economy, is now at the cusp of modern technologies including hypersonic weapons, missiles that can travel at least five times faster than the speed of sound.
The unclassified report from the US Defense Intelligence Agency found Beijing has made enormous advances in recent years, partly due to domestic laws that require foreign partners to share technical secrets in exchange for access to the Chinese market, and as a result of “acquiring technology by any means available.”
Western nations have long accused China of espionage and stealing military and trade secrets to get ahead.
China is also developing medium- and long-range stealth bombers that could hit initial operational capability within the next six years.
“In some areas, it already leads the world,” according to the report, which adds that such increased military might will “enable China to impose its will in the region.”
Despite having taken significant technical strides, China’s military lacks real-world experience in handling conflicts as it hasn’t fought a war in four decades.