China’s government and military chief military chiefs made a dazzling splash at the Zhuhai Airshow with record fighter-jet numbers and a more than 100 percent increase in planned airplane purchases from foreign suppliers.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, who in 2017 revealed plans to build an air force to match Russia’s, has driven his country’s development of militaries with a mix of aggressive rhetoric and high-tech procurement.
The country’s efforts have paid off. The Airshow featured a record 50 C919 jets that were on display. A decade ago, China hadn’t even built a domestic passenger jetliner. China also appeared to be leading the competition for air power with the purchase of 174 military, commercial and auxiliary aircraft and helicopters from more than 60 countries.
But China faces issues. While the country’s military modernization has spurred growth in terms of manned and unmanned military projects, it has also fueled worry about the country’s ambitions to expand in Southeast Asia. Concerned about tensions with China, the United States last year invested $345 million in aerial communications technology to help countries with less-than-flexible airpocoks.
The United States’ deployment to Guam has not, for the moment, halted Beijing’s buildup, though. Trump has said he wants to scrap the agreement.
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