China has flown a nuclear-capable bomber beyond its borders in what US officials say is a response to President-elect Donald Trump's phone call with Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen.
The Xian H-6 bomber flew along the disputed 'nine-dash line' around the South China Sea on 8 December. This marks the second time Beijing has flown bombers in the disputed area since Trump was elected president, US officials told Fox News. The officials said it was intended to send a message to Trump.
According to Military Today, "The H-6K is designed for long-range attacks and stand-off attacks. It is considered as a strategic bomber. It is capable of attacking US carrier battle groups and priority targets in Asia. This aircraft has nuclear strike capability."
The president-elect has voiced his criticism of China on Twitter, including what he has called "a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea."
The Pentagon was alerted to the Chinese long-range nuclear bomber on Friday (9 December). American intelligence satellites have seen China preparing to ship more advanced surface-to-air missiles to the contested islands in the South China Sea.
Trump's call with Taiwan's President Tsai ling-wen broke a protocol dating back many years after American leaders stopped communicating directly with Taiwan presidents in 1979. US officials called to reassure Beijing that the US still adheres to the One China policy, which does not recognise Taiwan as its own sovereign nation.
The Global Times, which has close ties to the Chinese Communist Party said: "We need to get better prepared militarily regarding the Taiwan question to ensure that those who advocate Taiwan's independence will be punished, and take precautions in case of US provocations in the South China Sea."
John Pilger in his latest film The Coming War on China, has warned of a major US military build-up over the past few years, including President Obama's 'pivot to Asia', where almost two-thirds of US naval forces would be transferred to Asia and the Pacific by 2020.
The filmmaker interviewed Amitai Etzioni, professor at George Washington University, who said that the US is "preparing for a war with China, a momentous decision that so far has failed to receive a thorough review from elected officials, namely the White House and Congress".