China's largest military transport plane enters service
Iran Press TV
Wed Jul 6, 2016 7:10AM
China's largest military transport aircraft has been put into service, enabling Beijing to deploy its forces around the world.
Xinhua news agency said the Y-20 plane entered service on Wednesday and will be used to move forces and cargo over "long distances in diverse weather."
It "marks a crucial step for the air force improving its strategic power projection capability," Air Force spokesman Shen Jinke was quoted as saying.
The plane will be used for "safeguarding national security as well as domestic and international rescue and relief work," Shen added.
The plane is the largest transport aircraft built in China. It has a maximum payload of 66 tons and can carry that for as far as 4,400 km, the state news agency said.
It added that the aircraft could fly from western China to Egypt with 55 tons on board.
China is engaged in territorial disputes with its neighbors in the East and South China seas.
On Monday, China's Defense Ministry said in a statement that two Japanese jets took "provocative" actions near a pair of Chinese jets in the East China Sea on June 17.
The Chinese aircraft were on routine patrol where they were met with the Japanese jets, who "even went so far as to start "lighting up" the Chinese planes with their fire-control radar," the statement said, adding that the Chinese jets responded "decisively."
"The Japanese plane's provocative actions caused an accident in the air, endangering the safety of personnel on both sides, and destroying the peace and stability in the region," the statement also said.
It further urged Tokyo to end all provocative action in the region.
Relations between China and Japan have soured over the past few years over a territorial row on the uninhabited yet strategically-important island group in the East China Sea. Tensions grew after Tokyo nationalized part of the resource-rich islands in 2012.
China maintains that the islands are inherent parts of its territory and that it has indisputable sovereignty over them, while the Japanese government regards the islands as a part of its Ishigaki Island in Okinawa Prefecture.
The islands have been under Japanese administrative control since the reversion of Okinawa to Japan from US administrative rule in 1972.
Beijing also claims the South China Sea almost in its entirety and is involved in a series of disputes with several neighboring countries over the issue.
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