China unveils J-20 stealth fighter jet missiles as US urges Beijing to halt militarisation of South China Sea

Public display demonstrated J-20's 'superiority' over top US fighter jets, according to Chinese newspaper report 

Emma Snaith
Monday 12 November 2018 15:27
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China’s new J-20 stealth fighter jets displayed to the public for the first time

The Chinese air force has displayed its new J-20 stealth fighter jet missiles for the first time, as US concerns grow about Beijing's ambitions to assert control over the South China Sea.

Two J-20 jets flew over large crowds at the biennial Zuhai Airshow on Sunday to commemorate the 69th anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) air force.

During the flypast, the two jets opened their missile bay doors, revealing the four long-range missiles mounted inside. Two missiles were also mounted under the jets' wings.

Chinese newspaper the Global Times reported that the demonstration displayed the J-20's "superiority" over the top US fighter jets, the F-22 and F-35, and the PLA's "growing confidence".

In a post on the PLA's English language website earlier this year, Chinese military expert Song Zongping said the J-20 jet will "engage with rivals in the future who dare to provoke China in the air".

The post said that the arrival of the J-20 would change the balance of air power in the Asia-Pacific region.

"In the past, only the US and its allies like Japan were capable of arming stealth fighter jets," the post reads. "But now, their monopoly in this region has been broken by China's J-20."

The J-20 stealth fighter jets missiles are shown for the first time at the Zhuhai Airshow

The public display of the J-20 jet missiles comes after US officials urged China to halt their militarisation of the South China Sea during talks in Washington on Friday.

In return, China demanded that the US stop sending ships and military aircraft close to islands claimed by Beijing in the disputed territory.

The talks have been organised to prepare for a meeting between President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping at the end of the month in a bid to ease trade tensions between the two countries.

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Washington has imposed tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese goods this year, with Beijing responding in kind.

Most recently, Mr Trump imposed sanctions on $200bn (£153bn) worth of Chinese goods, including handbags and bicycle tyres, while China retaliated by imposing levies on US goods including soybeans.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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