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'China military upgrades potential threat to US'

The Pentagon has warned the pace of China's modernisation of its strategic forces could pose a credible long-term threat to the US.

india Updated: May 24, 2006 08:36 IST

The pace and scope of China's modernisation of its strategic forces and other surprising military developments could pose a credible long-term threat to the United States, the Pentagon has warned.

In an annual report to Congress, the Defence Department on Tuesday said China's ability to sustain military power at a distance is limited, but it has the greatest potential of any nation to compete militarily with the United States.

"Several aspects of China's military development have surprised US analysts, including the pace and scope of its strategic forces modernization," an executive summary of the report said.

"China's military expansion is already such as to alter regional military balances," it added.

"Long-term trends in China's strategic nuclear forces modernization, land- and sea-based access denial capabilities, and emerging precision-strike weapons have the potential to pose credible threats to modern militaries operating in the region," the report said.

The annual China military power report is a closely watched barometer of military relations between the Asian power and the United States, the dominant military power in the Asia Pacific region.

The report made waves last year by calling attention to big, unacknowledged increases in Chinese spending on a major military buildup that it said put at risk the military balance in the region.

The latest report expanded on that theme and said China had still not adequately explained "the purposes or desired end-stats of their military expansion.