China deploys most powerful jet fighter to South China Sea

China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) recently began deploying its most powerful stealth fighter jet, the J-20, to patrol the East China Sea and China Sea. Southern China contested in ‘routine training sessions’. world times reported Wednesday.

The PLAAF specifically ordered its J-20s to conduct “combat patrols” in the East and South China Seas intended to “safeguard China’s airspace security and maritime interests” in China’s military plans. water,” Ren Yukun told reporters at a press conference on April 12. .

Ren leads the discipline inspection and supervision team and is a member of the Chinese Communist Party’s main group at the Chinese state-owned company Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), which manufactures the J-20 in the country. of the PLAAF.

The independent island nation of Taiwan, which Beijing says is a territory of China, sits at the crossroads of the East and South China Seas. China’s ruling Communist Party has repeatedly threatened to “reunify” Taiwan, which lies off China’s southeast coast, with the “mainland”, i.e. China.

These threats have translated into belligerent military exercises by the PLAAF, which regularly orders aerial sorties to penetrate Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) as a form of intimidation.

Taiwan’s location along the southern shore of the East China Sea places it a short distance southwest of Japan’s Senkaku islets. Like Taiwan, Beijing claims the Senkakus as its own territory and has increased its military presence near the small uninhabited islands in recent months.

A J-20 jet aircraft in profile during a performance at the Zhuhai Air Show in Zhuhai, southern China’s Guangdong province, Nov. 1, 2016. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

File/A J-20 jet performs at the Zhuhai Air Show in Zhuhai, southern China’s Guangdong province, November 1, 2016. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

“The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force assumes the sacred duty of defending national security in Chinese airspace. It should be emphasized that when it comes to defending national sovereignty and security, the PLA will always be ready and able to wield its sword,” said Senior Colonel Wu Qian, spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Defense. nationally, during a regular press conference. March 31.

Colonel Wu answered questions about an encounter earlier in March between a number of PLAAF J-20s and US Air Force F-35 stealth fighter jets over the East China Sea . US Pacific Air Force Commander Kenneth Wilsbac confirmed the incident during a March 17 online chat with military aviation experts hosted by the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.

“They make it fly [J-20s] pretty good. We recently had – I wouldn’t call it an engagement – ​​where we got relatively close to the J-20s with our F-35s in the East China Sea,” Wilsbach said during the virtual forum.

File/A Chinese J-20 stealth fighter performs at Airshow China 2018 in Zhuhai, southern China’s Guangdong province, Nov. 6, 2018. (WANG ZHAO/AFP via Getty Images)

He noted that the American pilots involved in the confrontation were “relatively impressed” by the “command and control” of the J-20s by the PLAAF.

“It’s still too early to say exactly what they intend to do with it. [the J-20] — if it’s going to look more like an F-35… it’s primarily an air superiority fighter that has an air-to-ground capability,” Wilsbac said.

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