China begins sending its most advanced fighter plane to patrol disputed seas

China’s most powerful and advanced stealth fighter jet J-20 has begun patrolling disputed areas in East and South China Sea, as per a report in Chinese state media. China’s Global Times, in its report, sought to project repeatedly that this was ‘routine training’ patrol.

Initial versions of the J-20 were fitted with Russian engines but these engines were soon replaced by Chinese engines that were developed domestically. The presence of J-20 fighter jets in East and South China Sea is being seen as another assertive move by China to project power in waters in which it has disputed with numerous countries.

China claims the entirety of South China Sea based on what it calls its historical claims. This has made China enter into disputes with other countries with coastlines on South China Sea. Chinese Navy and air force have sought to mark their presence in South China Sea. China has also constructed artificial islands. Some even have runways.

In East China Sea, China has dispute with Japan over Senkaku Islands. These are also called Diaoyu Islands.

China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) reportedly has 200 J-20 stealth fighter jets. Peter Layton, a visiting fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute in Australia was quoted by CNN to say that foreign military aircrafts entering China’s claimed airspace over these seas may potentially be ontercepted by J-20s.