Defense News is reporting that Chinese H-6K “Badger” bombers with 1,000 mile range air launched cruise missiles have been flying near Guam “not infrequently” to test U.S. defense zones around the U.S. territory. However, they stress there is no imminent danger of a conflict with China.
According to Defense News U.S. defense officials told reporters traveling with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford that China is the main long-term challenge in the region.
The discussion was in the context of the North Korean threat in which DOD officials told reporters about increasing interactions between Japanese aircraft and “armed Chinese Flankers”. Officials were talking about China’s increasing military presence in the South China Sea. The People’s Republic of China or PRC has laid claims to a series of manmade islands they created called the Spratly islands. The idea is that China will soon attempt to lay claim to the entire South China Sea. Officials told reporters that China is trying to normalize any gains it is currently making in the South China sea by increasing fighter and bomber flights in the region.
Thus they have been flying in airspace near Japan resulting in increasing interactions between Chinese military aircraft and Japanese aircraft. “It’s very common for PRC [People’s Republic of China] aircraft to intercept U.S. aircraft” said DOD officials. They have also been increasing their flights near Guam’s airspace flying Chinese H-6K “Badger” bombers which are equipped with cruise missiles that have a thousand mile range. DOD officials believes these flights are designed to test U.S. defense zones around Guam.
Officials went as far as saying that, “The PRC [People’s Republic of China] is practicing attacks on Guam.” Defense officials noted that most of the flights occur without incident and they stressed that there is no imminent danger of a conflict with China.