U.S. -China relations have become increasingly frayed on the military and economic fronts over the past year.
China has planned to construct about 1.3 million kilometers of roads and 26,000 kilometers of expressways by 2020 to bolster its military's ability to mobilise more expediently across greater spans of the country, the Pentagon has told the US Congress.
The exercises also followed a new Pentagon report laying out United States concerns about China's growing military might, underscoring Washington's worries about a possible attack against Taiwan.
In mid-2016, China allocated United States dollars 600 billion as part of a three-year plan (2016-2018) to continue improving its transportation network and passed the Defence Transportation Law (DTL) authorising the management, development and production of dual-use facilities and equipment to support national and regional PLA operations, the report said.
These include submarines, anti-ship and anti-air missiles.
The report, which was published Tuesday, added that "Beijing's anticipation that foreign forces would intervene in a Taiwan scenario led the (People's Liberation Army) to develop a range of systems to deter and deny foreign regional force projection".
On the technology front, DIA is concerned about advances the Chinese have made in modern weaponry including the unmatched anti-satellite capabilities that it has demonstrated recently and the development of directed-energy weapons and hypersonic weapons, which can travel at least five times the speed of sound. "China's technological advancement in naval design has begun to approach a level commensurate with, and in some cases exceeding, that of other modern navies", according to the report.
China's most terrifying weapons are the most advanced in their field in the world.
However, China's defense spending remains low when compared to other nations.
The drills are Taiwan's first since Chinese President Xi Jinping on January 2 reasserted Beijing's willingness to use military force to bring self-ruling Taiwan under Chinese control.
The United States is closely watching Chinese intentions toward Taiwan, concerned that Beijing's growing military prowess may increase the risk it could one day consider bringing the self-ruled island under its control by force, a USA official said on Tuesday.
"When a country like us faces difficulties and threats, we hope that the global community takes it seriously and can voice support and help us", she said.
"Preparation for war and combat must be deepened to ensure an efficient response in times of emergency", he was quoted as saying.
"The biggest concern is that as a lot of these technologies mature...[the Chinese] will reach a point where internally - within their decision-making - they will decide that using military force for a regional conflict is something that is more imminent", the official said, speaking under the condition of anonymity.
Taiwan is well equipped with mostly U.S. weapons but has been pressing for more advanced gear due to the menacing threat of China.