July 18, 2011 10:15
Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin on Saturday observed a demonstration flight of China's top-of-the-line J-10 fighter jet at the Changzhou Air Force flight test base about 200 km south of Beijing.
The jet has been deployed since 2005 and is believed to be similar to mid-range American F-16s.
It has a maximum speed of Mach 2, and its combat radius is 1,250 km. It can take off and land on short -- 350 to 650 m long -- runways and carry 11 air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles.
"Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie said over a dinner after bilateral defense talks last Friday that China has never showed the J-10 base to any foreign visitors before," a Defense Ministry official said. "The opening of the base to our delegation is seen as an expression of China's will to expand exchange and cooperation between the two militaries."
Earlier on Friday, Kim visited the Third Guards Division and observed various drills. Based in a Beijing suburb, this unit took part in battles during the Korean War on the North Korean side.
It has about 11,000 troops and consists of two infantry brigades,and one armored, anti-aircraft artillery and artillery brigade each, as a division under a capital defense command.
The unit has become a favorite destination for foreign VIPs since 1974, when it started giving demonstrations of various military drills. During Kim's visit, the unit demonstrated mortar firing, communications facility installation, and special troops on motorbikes entering a building and subduing terrorists.
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