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A science blog suggests the biggest news in this year’s Pentagon report on Chinese military and security developments is the Asian nation’s development of a new strategic nuclear bomber to replace the aging H-6, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

The move would advance China significantly toward its goal of having land-, sea- and air-based launch capabilities.

The blog cited a statement by commander Ma Xiaotian that China was “developing a next generation, long-range strike bomber” to replace the H-6 bombers.

The nuclear capability is attributed to unidentified observers and speculations that past PLA writings about the need for a stealth strategic bomber’ suggest aspirations to field a strategic bomber with a nuclear delivery capability, the blog said.

But Hans Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists says that is old news.

“Bombers delivered nuclear gravity bombs in at least 12 of China’s nuclear test explosions between 1964 and 1979, so China probably has some dormant air-delivered nuclear capability,” he wrote.

But the report outlines a new level of aggression on the part of the Chinese.

It explains there are concerns about China’s new and growing aggressiveness regarding its territory after China used “coercive tactics,” including police and militia forces, to have its way with disputed lands.

The U.S. military recently turned over its “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2017” report to Congress.

It said that the nation’s Communist Party has begun “sweeping organizational reforms” adopted by Chinese leaders in which it has “leveraged its growing power to assert its sovereignty claims over features in the East and South China Seas.”

“China has used coercive tactics, such as the use of law enforcement vessels and its maritime militia, to enforce maritime claims and advance its interests in ways that are calculated to fall below the threshold of provoking conflict,” the newly released report said.

“In the South China Sea, China continued construction at its military outposts in the Spratly Islands. Important milestones in 2016 included landing civilian aircraft on its airfields on Fiery Cross, Subi and Mischief Reefs, as well as landing a military transport aircraft on Fiery Cross Reef,” the report said. “In July 2016, an arbitral tribunal constituted under the compulsory dispute settlement procedures in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea issued a ruling in favor of the Philippines with respect to issues involving the interpretation and application of the [law].”

For the rest of this report, and more, please go to Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

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