The US has cautioned that Beijing's recent warplane mission near Guam will not be in "China's interest" as the country reportedly flew bombers near the US territory recently. Authorities say China's warplanes practised bombing drills raising concerns over Beijing's increasing assertions in the tense Pacific region.
Officials from the US Defense Department told the Defense News that China's H-6K Badger bombers had conducted frequent flights near the American territory, practising "attacks on Guam". They also said the Chinese warplanes neared Hawaii as well. Both Guam and Hawaii host critical bases for the US military forces.
The Badgers ran "not infrequent" flights within the striking range of Guam. "When we look at the capabilities China is developing, we've got to make sure we maintain the ability to meet our alliance commitments in the Pacific," the Defense News quoted Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, as saying. The chairman was not exactly part of the press briefing but had spoken to officials.
China's H-6K Badger warplanes are capable of delivering air-launched cruise missiles with a range of 1,600kms and their flights are a cause of serious concern for the US authorities. The mission has also come when President Donald Trump is set to embark on a crucial 12-day Asia tour, which includes China as well.
Asked about China's recent aerial activities, Trump's national security adviser HR McMaster said: "I think the United States recognises that any kind of military effort like that will not be in China's interest. I think China recognises that as well."
He then went on to insist that Washington's forces have the capacity to "deter by denial, which means convincing your enemy, or potential enemy that they cannot accomplish their objectives through the use of military force," according to the South China Morning Post.