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J-20 takes flight
Further ahead indeed...

Numerous pictures of the Chinese Chengdu J-20 Black Eagle stealth fighter have surfaced online over the last few weeks. The aircraft has been seen conducting taxi tests at the southwest China Plant 132 facility. Plant 132 is the designation for Chengdu Aircraft reports Defense News.

After government officials initially dismissed the J-20, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates admitted recently that the Chinese "may be somewhat further along" than was previously believed. As Gates is in China for talks with the Chinese government a new report comes out that the J-20 made its first flight. The maiden flight had reportedly been set for January 7, but poor weather forced the flight to be cancelled. 

According to Chinese media, the chase aircraft on the test flight was a Chengdu J-10S Vigorous Dragon fighter. Defense News reports that the test flight will surprise some analysts who though the aircraft wasn’t ready for flight. The maiden flight of the J-20 lasted 18 minutes and was conducted on January 11.

The first flight of the aircraft may be used as a bargaining chip by Taiwan to urge the U.S. to release 66 newer F-16C/D fighters that were requested. The aircraft have been on hold since 2006 due to Chinese pressure on the U.S. to not offer more military aid to Taiwan.

Chinese Minister for National Defense Gen. Liang Guanglie said, "On that, China's position has been clear and consistent - we are against it." He also said, "Because United States arms sales to Taiwan seriously damaged China's core interests and we do not want to see that happen again, neither do we hope that the U.S. arms sales to Taiwan will again and further disrupt our bilateral and military-to-military relationship."

The F-16 aircraft that Taiwan wants aren’t likely to be approved by the U.S., but upgrades for the F16A/B fighters Taiwan may get a green light.

Updated 1/12/2011 @ 7:35am EST

Video has been posted of the J-20's first flight. The taxi/liftoff occurs around the 3:06 mark.

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By Bigginz on 1/11/2011 5:51:30 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not a diplomat, but I would tell China not to worry about how many F-16's Taiwan has. Just don't invade Taiwan and it won't be a problem.

It would be foolish for Taiwan to attack China considering geographic area and population. So you can assume Taiwan would only use its military for defense. China's long term plan is to restrict the quality and quantity of military hardware coming into Taiwan so they can invade with minimal losses.

RE: Diplomacy
By Lerianis on 1/12/2011 1:38:27 AM , Rating: 2
Well, you are forgetting that the Chinese want to play like China is part of their country (they are not, never were, and I don't think ever will be).

China needs to realize that Taiwan is NOT theirs, and then the big kids can move on to more important discussions.

RE: Diplomacy
By FoundationII on 1/12/2011 7:56:55 AM , Rating: 2
They actually were part of china before the Chinese civil war.
It's a remnant of the Kuomintang which retreated to the island Taiwan.
To this day the actual name of Taiwan is 'Republic of China' while China is called 'People's Republic of China'

The People's Republic of China claim they're rulers of all of China (including the island of taiwan) while the Republic of China claims they're independent.

RE: Diplomacy
By Grape Flavor on 1/14/2011 1:44:42 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, not even the ROC claims they're independent. The ROC's official position is that THEY legally rule all China. And the US subscribes in theory to "one China".

If the ROC actually DID declare independence, that's when the sh*t hits the fan and the guns start blazing...

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