A Chinese state newspaper on Tuesday poured scorn on reports that it had used technology from a downed US plane in its stealth fighter, hailing its jet as a "masterpiece" of homegrown innovation.
A prototype of China's first stealth fighter, the J-20 -- seen as a future rival to the US Air Force's F-22 Raptor -- made its maiden flight earlier this month, during a visit to Beijing by US Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
Reports have suggested the Chinese jet could have been made with technology from a US plane shot down in 1999 by a Serbian anti-aircraft missile during the Kosovo war, but a Chinese defence official dismissed them as unfounded.
"It's not the first time foreign media has smeared newly unveiled Chinese military technologies. It's meaningless to respond to such speculations," the official told the Global Times newspaper.
The paper -- a sister publication of the People's Daily, the Communist Party mouthpiece -- also quoted a top test pilot, Xu Yongling, as saying the J-20 possessed advanced supersonic cruise ability and other "breakthrough" features.
"Different from previous fighters such as the J-7 and J-8, which drew on the merits of aircraft from other countries, the J-20 is a masterpiece of China's technological innovation," Xu said.
The pilot said the technology of the downed F-117 was regarded as "outdated" even at the time when it was shot down, and could not be applied to a next-generation stealth jet.
A senior US lawmaker, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon, last week charged that the J-20 had been built based on technology copied from a Russian jet.
The US F-22 is currently the world's only fully operational next-generation stealth fighter jet. Other than the United States and China, only a handful of countries are working on so-called next-generation stealth fighters.
In January 2010, Russia unveiled an aircraft touted as a rival to the US jet, developed by Sukhoi. Experts say Japan has a homegrown programme, while India is cooperating with Russia.
China has repeatedly insisted that its military growth and modernisation are defensive in nature and pose no threat to other nations.
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