China’s military upstaged the Asian economic summit in Beijing this week by conducting flights tests of a new stealth jet prototype, as the White House called on Beijing to halt its cyber attacks.
Demonstration flights by the new J-31 fighter jet—China’s second new radar-evading warplane—were a key feature at a major arms show in Zhuhai, located near Macau, on Monday.
The J-31 flights coincided with President Obama’s visit to Beijing for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit meeting. In a speech and meetings with Chinese leaders, Obama called on China to curtail cyber theft of trade secrets.
China obtained secrets from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter through cyber attacks against a subcontractor for Lockheed Martin. The technology has shown up in China’s first stealth jet, the J-20, and in the J-31. Both of the jets’ design features and equipment are similar to those of the F-35.
The Chinese warplanes are part of a major buildup of air power by China that includes the two new stealth fighters, development of a new strategic bomber, purchase of Russian Su-35 jets, and development of advanced air defense missile systems. China also is building up its conventional and nuclear missile forces.
The J-31 flight testing during the summit highlights the Chinese military’s use of high-level U.S. visits to showcase new weaponry.
Military and defense analysts said China’s development of new warplanes poses a threat to regional stability.
“China is moving along at a very rapid pace in its fighter aircraft development and we should be concerned,” said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney, who said the timing during the president’s visit was similar to the 2011 flight test of the J-20 during a visit by then Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates.
McInerney said Gates halted production of the most advanced U.S. jet fighter, the F-22, at 187 aircraft that “started us on the unilateral disarmament path that President Obama has America on.”
“Neither the J-20 or the J-31 will match the F-22 or F-35 in stealth performance but their successors will and we should be concerned as China is a looming economic and military power,” McInerney said. “They enjoy flaunting their power in front of American leaders who have exhibited weakness.”
Full article: China Flight Tests New Stealth Jet During Obama Visit (Washington Free Beacon)