The Russian fighter Su-35 (Flanker-E, in NATO classification) is now part of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), according to the Chinese Ministry of Defense, The National Interest reported.
This fourth-generation Russian advanced aircraft greatly strengthened the PLAAF and could be used to strengthen Beijing’s positions in the South China Sea.
“The Su-35 is a multi-functional fighter capable of fighting in the air and making precise attacks on both ground and external targets,” said Colonel Wu Qian.
Wu Qian detailed that Chinese Air Force aviation troops are currently equipped with Su-35 fighters.
Therefore, Chinese forces operating in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Straits with Russian fighters, gain significant advantages. According to Wu, at the end of April, Beijing carried out war-games in the region of Taiwan, which is considered as a separatist province by Chinese authorities.
However, Wu has promised that China will take action should Taiwan formally try to declare independence. “If the Taiwan separatist forces continue to act deliberately, we will implement more actions,” he said.
For the Chinese military, the Su-35 could help China to crackdown on Taiwan. The Russian-made fighter jet, possibly, is the PLAAF’s most effective aircraft, in addition to the Chengdu J-20 poacher . If the Su-35 is equipped with long-range air-to-air missiles, such as the PL-15, it could be used to attack US aerial refueling tankers and other aircraft such as E-3 AWACS that are crucial for operations over the Pacific.
In turn, the PL-15 missiles could enter service in the Chinese military.
An even more dangerous missile was seen aboard the advanced multi-functional J-16 fighter, derived from Flanker, which to some extent can be compared to the Su-35 in capability but still outweighs its “copy”.
Wu, however, concludes that the introduction of the Su-35 will significantly increase Chinese military capabilities and aggravate US forces in the event of war.
The reality regarding Taiwan, however, is that China’s ‘One China’ policy – meaning that Taiwan and Hong Kong are integral parts of China – has taken an economic an diplomatic path, with a military path not only being unnecessary, but from a public relations perspective, potentially catastrophic.
China’s military doctrine towards Taiwan isn’t based in any threat that Taiwan poses militarily to China, but that the US may be able to coerce Taiwanese leaders to make any number of irreversible mistakes. China has been in the position to militarily over-run Taiwan for a number of decades. China’s course has been based in internal legitimacy – building consensus among Taiwanese citizens and elites, that they should want to re-join China voluntarily.