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China tests first stealth combat drone, ramping up tensions Golden Goose Sale with Japan in disputed waters
The first Chinese stealth combat drone has reportedly made a successful maiden flight, with state media hailing the move as evidence Beijing is closing the gap with major Western power.
The test flight of the "Sharp Sword" unmanned aircraft is another step in China's years-long military build-up, with its defence spending now the second highest in the world and growing by double-digit percentages each year.
"The successful flight shows the nation has again narrowed the air-power disparity between itself and Western nations," the China Daily newspaper said.
It said Thursday's test flight made China the "fourth power" capable of putting a stealth drone into the sky, after the US, European Union and Britain.
The flight "implies that China has made the https://www.goldengooseshoesit.com/ leap from drones to combat drones", it said, calling it the move of "major significance".
Images posted online showed a sleek grey delta-wing aircraft apparently powered by a jet engine and resembling an American combat drone.
State media widely reported the new aircraft in close detail, although they said the test-flight was first revealed by ordinary Internet users on a popular military web forum cjdby.net.
China is steadily building its military muscle and unveiled its first stealth fighter, the J-20, in early 2011, though it is not expected to to enter service until 2018.
Beijing's first aircraft carrier -- a refurbished vessel purchased from Ukraine and named the Liaoning -- went into service in September 2012 but is not expected to be fully operational for several years.
A drone was at the centre of a recent spat between Beijing and Tokyo, whose dispute over islands known as Diaoyu in Chinese and Senkaku in Japanese has raised concerns of conflict.
An unidentified unmanned aircraft flew near the islands in September, where China routinely conducts maritime patrols, prompting Japan to scramble fighter jets. The aircraft came from the northwest and returned in that direction, a Japanese defence official said.
Tokyo later threatened to shoot down any such aircraft, a move that Beijing warned would amount to an "act of war".