The Rising China Nuclear Horn

The US has seen massive deaths in the coronavirus pandemic that has originated in China (Getty Images)

China may have stealth bomber Xian H-20 ready by late 2020, will put US bases in Pacific under strike range

Tensions between China and the US and its allies have worsened over the past one month in the wake of the outbreak of the pandemic from Wuhan. The West has increasingly accused Beijing of covering up the pandemic even when it knew the danger it posed. The common belief that the pandemic started off from a wet market in Wuhan has also been challenged now with the theory that it got leaked from a lab in the same city has gained traction.

Besides the US, countries like Japan and Australia have also witnessed their relations with China plummeting.

China’s strategic competition with the US has also intensified as with the US Navy getting heavily hit by the coronavirus, the Asian power has increased its naval presence in its surroundings, raising concern in Japan and Taiwan.

Chinese jet can hit American bases in various countries

The defense department has predicted that the H-20, the last in China’s 20 series of new generation fighter planes, would have an estimated cruising distance of over 5,300 miles. China’s state TV sources predicted that the H-20 could transform the strategic equations between the US and China by doubling the range of its current H-6K, called its own B-52. The Chinese jet has reportedly been made to hit targets beyond the second island ring that includes American bases in Guam, Japan, Philippines and other countries.

“If the H-20 does have the range and passable stealth characteristics attributed to it, it could alter the strategic calculus between the United States and China by exposing U.S. bases and fleets across the Pacific to surprise air attacks,” National Interest reported.

The third island chain goes till Hawaii and coastal Australia. The plane will carry nuclear and conventional missiles with a maximum take-off weight of at least 200 tonnes and a payload measuring up to 45 tonnes.

The Post cited some military experts who felt the US Air Force would not care much about the new Chinese jet because it is not powerful enough to challenge their B-2 and B-21 bombers. Some feel the H-20 might feature the NK-321 Russian engine while others think the H-20 would be fitted with the upgraded WS-10 engine. They said the WS-10 is still a transitional engine for the H-20 because it is not too powerful.

The Post also cited a military source as saying that if the US deployed more F-35 supersonic fighter jets, it would see China unveil its bomber even faster.

Meanwhile, while the Trump administration continued to blame China for not having acted adequately against the coronavirus outbreak, Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of China’s Global Times hit out at Trump in an editorial, accusing him of ‘publicly lying about China’.

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