China un­veils se­cre­tive stealth fighter

The Myanmar Times - - World -

TWO of China’s se­cre­tive J-20 war­planes swept over a gasp­ing crowd at the Zhuhai air show yes­ter­day, po­tent sym­bols of Bei­jing’s as­pi­ra­tions to mil­i­tary might.

The fight­ers were not an­nounced on the sched­ule and ap­peared in the sky just af­ter a colour­ful aer­o­bat­ics show by the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army Air Force.

With no fan­fare but an abrupt an­nounce­ment by the mas­ter of cer­e­monies, the dark pow­er­ful jets rum­bled side by side over the sun­baked spec­ta­tors. Two min­utes later one blasted ver­ti­cally into the sky and the jets were gone.

Swift and heav­ily armed, the war­planes rep­re­sent a leap for­ward in China’s abil­ity to pro­ject power in Asia and com­pete in ca­pa­bil­i­ties with the United States.

Bei­jing is seek­ing to mod­ernise and up­grade its mil­i­tary both to pro­tect its bor­ders and pro­ject power into re­gions such as the South China Sea, a re­source-rich strate­gic wa­ter­way where it has dis­putes with sev­eral neigh­bours.

This year’s Zhuhai ex­hi­bi­tion, the largest ever, fea­tures an ar­ray of new made-in-China mil­i­tary tech­nol­ogy in­clud­ing as­sault ve­hi­cles, an­ti­air­craft mis­sile sys­tems, un­manned drones, and fighter jets.

China’s only in­ter­na­tional aero­space expo, it serves as a stage for Bei­jing to flex its mus­cle be­fore an au­di­ence of cheer­ing cit­i­zens and for­eign guests from 42 coun­tries in­clud­ing Rus­sia, Pak­istan and Britain.

China is pro­jected to be­come the world’s largest avi­a­tion mar­ket by 2024, ac­cord­ing to the In­ter­na­tional Air Trans­port As­so­ci­a­tion. –

Photo: EPA

China’s new J-20 stealth fighter flies dur­ing an air­show at the China In­ter­na­tional Avi­a­tion & Aero­space Ex­hi­bi­tion in Zhuhai yes­ter­day.

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