China disclosed a J-10 fighter jet base to the visiting South Korean defense minister last week, a defense official in Seoul said Sunday, a move signaling Beijing’s intent to further strengthen bilateral defense and military exchanges.
South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin visited a Chinese air force training base in Changzhou, Jiangsu province, on Saturday, the last day of his three-day visit to China for talks with his Chinese counterpart, Liang Guanglie, the official said.
During his visit to the base, about 200 kilometers south of Beijing, Kim watched the takeoff and landing of a J-10 jet, a China-developed fighter with an operational radius of 1,250 km, before having lunch with Chinese military officers there.
Liang said during his dinner with Kim on Friday that the J-10 jet base has never disclosed to a foreign country, according to the official.
Kim told South Korean reporters Saturday after the trip to the base that the J-10 is similar to the U.S.-built F-16 fighter, noting that China seems to be pushing for its exports.
On Friday, Kim and Liang reaffirmed their commitment to peace in the region and said they will strengthen their cooperation to maintain stability.
In a joint statement following their talks in Beijing, the ministers said they are “opposed to any provocative behavior that harms the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula.”
Kim’s trip was the first to China by a South Korean defense minister in two years and the first since the two deadly North Korean provocations last year.