Test flight a symbol of nation's sovereignty

By Fu Wen Source:Global Times Published: 2011-1-17 17:48:00

A high-ranking military official said that China intended to declare its freedom to take action as part of its national strategy when it conducted a test fight of the J-20 stealth jet Tuesday.

He said the goal was not to intimidate a specific country after some said the action might trigger a chain reaction from other nations.

Xu Yongling, deputy chief of staff at an air force station who was also a J-10 fighter test pilot, said in a written commentary that freedom to act is an essential part of a country's long-term development.

Xu did not agree with some domestic critics that the test flight did not deserve nationwide celebration as it could raise anxiety among China's rivals. "If our people do not even have the freedom to express their excitement about the nation's military improvement, who will listen to us when our country speaks on the world stage," Xu said.

"A nation will never rise up if it loses the freedom of action because such freedom means security," Xu added.

Song Xiaojun, a Beijing-based military expert, told the Global Times Sunday that he agrees with Xu and thinks China does not need to conceal the fact that the J-20 had a test flight. "It's good that the government did not block the news, which shows that China is building up military transparency, and such movement will benefit China's development," said Song.

The Singapore-based Lianhe Zaobao newspaper commented Saturday that Xu's article reflected the views of "China's hawks," who are known for their tough military stance and are trying to exercise greater influence in the country's diplomatic affairs, as many Western media have noted.

However, Song said that such comment is groundless.

"Compared with the US, which has much less population and more defense budget than China, our country definitely needs to have an appropriate military power to match with its economic and social development," Song added.

Still, some military sources warned against a new round of outcry over the "China threat" claims triggered by the J-20 test.

Yang Yi, a rear admiral and former director of the National Defense University's Institute for Strategic Studies, published a commentary in the overseas edition of People's Daily Thursday, in which he said that it is necessary for China to further explain its military strategy to the world, which was self-defense in nature.

"China's military development is never aimed at other countries and the country will never get involved in an arms race with the US or any other nation," Yang said.

Yang, who refused to react to comment on Xu's remarks, said that the public should not be arrogant following the J-20 trial flight.

"Chinese people are fortunate to see the J-20's successful trial flight and should be proud of such a military achievement, but we should notice that an apparent gap still exists between China and the US," Yang told the Global Times Sunday.

Bai Zhaoyang contributed to this story

Posted in: China Watch

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