The first test flight of China’s new j-20 stealth fighter took place today during a visit from the US Secretary of Defence Secretary Robert Gates. The purpose of which was to defuse military tensions between the two nations.
The flights is a part of a modernisation of the Chinese military programme, which also includes the development of Aircraft carriers, anti-satellite missiles and other advanced weapon systems. The recent surge in military activity has alarmed neighbouring countries and caught the attention of the US.
However, China are saying that they have no plans to take on US, who command a large presence in the Pacific and that it is more about showing how they have progressed. “China is showing off that its defences have been strengthened to a high level,” said Ahn Yinhay, a professor at Korea University in Seoul.
There have been US and Chinese conflicts in the past, in 2001 a mid-air collision between a Chinese fighter jet and a US Surveillance plane resulted in a diplomatic standoff.
China’s Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai has said that no country should be worried about this test flight, saying that it is not aimed at anyone. He also said that it was coincidence that it occurred during the visit of Secretary Gates.
Gates himself said that the visit had been very productive and “really set the stage for taking the military-to-military relationship to the next level”.