Washington (AFP) Jan 18, 2011
China got the technology for its first stealth fighter jet from Russia, a senior US lawmaker said Tuesday, one week after the airplane apparently made its maiden flight.
"My understanding is that they built it on information that they received from Russia, from a Russian plane, that they were able to copy," House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon told reporters.
McKeon, a Republican, said he hoped to "hear more" on the issue from Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who was on a visit to Beijing when Chinese state media published photographs of the J-20 fighter in the skies over southwestern China.
According to the reports, which cited witnesses, the next-generation war jet -- the existence of which highlights China's drive to modernize its military -- made a 15-minute test flight before landing.
The lawmaker, who had been asked whether Beijing had obtained the technology needed to build such an advanced fighter from cyber-espionage, also stressed that "China's a concern" for US national security.
"We need to be looking at China, we need to be looking at North Korea, we need to be looking at Iran," said McKeon, who has given a skeptical greeting to Gates' plans for reductions in US military spending.
"That's what really concerns me when I look at the cuts, the potential cuts, that they're talking about for the defense budget. This is not a safe world," said the lawmaker.
earlier related report
Russia has so far provided South Korea with weapons worth $740 million as a way of repaying some $1.3 billion in debts dating back to the days of the Soviet Union.
Seoul is now in talks on the transfer of cutting-edge technology from Moscow, the South's Defence Acquisition Programme Administration said.
"We have yet to complete negotiations with Russia," a spokesman for the state agency controlled by the defence ministry told AFP, without giving details.
Yonhap news agency quoted a military source as saying the Russian technologies include long-range radar and a defence system against an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack.
North Korea is believed to have been developing an EMP system that could disrupt South Korean military communications and radar, it said.
Since the 1950-53 Korean War, South Korea has been heavily dependent on US technology for its arms acquisitions.
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