Hu Jintao in America: 7 questions about the Chinese president's visit

Hu Jintao, the Chinese president, arrives in the US for a summit with President Obama. Among the issues on the docket for Obama and Hu Jintao: Chinese currency, economic trade, and human rights.

6. Why did China’s stealth fighter cause a stir?

Kyodo News/AP/File
In this Wednesday Jan. 5 photo, people surround a Chinese J-20 stealth plane before its runway test in Chengdu, China.

Never mind that the pictures of what appears to be a Chinese stealth fighter on a high-speed taxi test surfaced just as Defense Secretary Robert Gates was to visit Beijing – or that the mysterious fighter jet was then flight-tested in the hours preceding Secretary Gates's talks with Hu. More important was what the functioning Chinese prototype – currently only the US has a fully operational stealth fighter – says about China’s military modernization and buildup, not to mention China's civilian-military power structure.

Early in the Obama administration, Gates predicted China would not be able to deploy such a jet until 2020. But the advent of such a weapon would have broad security implications in the region, including for US-Taiwan relations and for Indian and Japanese defense calculations.

6 of 7
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.