BEIJING --- China will unveil its new generation J-20 stealth fighter jet at an air show next week, the air force said on Friday, the first public showing of a warplane China hopes will narrow the military gap with the United States.
The ability to project air power is key for China as it takes on a more assertive stance on territorial disputes with neighbours in the East China and South China seas.
The Pentagon has said the fifth-generation stealth aircraft China is developing, the J-20 and the J-31, are necessary for China's air force to evolve from a mostly territorial force to one that can carry out both offensive and defensive operations.
The J-20 will give a flight demonstration at next week's China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in the southern city of Zhuhai, the People's Liberation Army Air Force said in a statement on its official microblog.
Air force spokesman Shen Jinke said the J-20's production was proceeding according to plan and would assist in the air force's mission to "safeguard sovereignty and national security".
"This is the first public appearance of China's indigenously manufactured new generation stealth fighter jet," the air force said.
In June, it said the jet would enter service "in the near future". (end of excerpt)
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