China's civilian leadership was unaware of stealth fighter jet test flight

Beijing, Jan.12 (ANI): China's civilian leadership has apparently been caught off-guard by the country's military conducting a test flight of a new stealth fighter jet on Tuesday.

According to the New York Times, Chinese President Hu Jintao and other civilian leaders gave visiting US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and other American officials the impression that they were unaware that the test had been conducted only hours before they received Gates at the Great Hall of the People.

A senior American defense official said that when Gates asked President Hu to discuss the test, it was evident that the Chinese leader and his top civilian advisers were surprised by the query and were unprepared to answer him.

Photos of the flight of the radar-evading J-20 had been prominently posted on unofficial Chinese military Web sites a few hours before the meeting.

"It was clear the civilian leadership was uninformed," the official said.

In comments to reporters afterward, Gates said Hu did acknowledge the test, apparently later in the same meeting, and assured Gates that it "had absolutely nothing to do with my visit."

Chinese officials provided only a brief summary of the meeting between Gates and Hu and did not address the perception by Pentagon officials that Hu had not been informed of the test. (ANI)

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