China got the technology for its first stealth fighter jet from Russia, a senior U.S. lawmaker said Jan. 18, one week after the airplane apparently made its maiden flight.
"My understanding is that they built it on information that they received from Russia, from a Russian plane, that they were able to copy," House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon told reporters.
McKeon, a Republican, said he hoped to "hear more" on the issue from Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who was on a visit to Beijing when Chinese state media published photographs of the J-20 fighter in the skies over southwestern China.
According to the reports, which cited witnesses, the next-generation war jet - the existence of which highlights China's drive to modernize its military - made a 15-minute test flight before landing.
McKeon, who had been asked whether Beijing had obtained the technology needed to build such an advanced fighter from cyber-espionage, also stressed that "China's a concern" for U.S. national security.
"We need to be looking at China, we need to be looking at North Korea, we need to be looking at Iran," said McKeon, who has given a skeptical greeting to Gates' plans for reductions in U.S. military spending.
"That's what really concerns me when I look at the cuts, the potential cuts, that they're talking about for the defense budget. This is not a safe world," McKeon said.