• Reuters

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Several types of large Chinese military aircraft will have “breakthroughs” this year after years of development, state media reported, as China pushes its territorial claims in the region.

Its largest domestically made military transport aircraft, known as the Xi’an Y-20, “will be available for delivery in the near term,” Tang Changhong, deputy chief engineer of Aviation Industry Corporation of China (Avic), told the official Xinhua news agency.

Tang said the air freighter had cutting-edge technology and was a match for foreign competitors. It is manufactured by Avic subsidiary Xi’an Aircraft Industrial Corp.

The country’s largest amphibious aircraft, the AG600, to be used in marine rescue missions, would make its maiden flight in 2016 after coming online this year, Xinhua reported.

Analysts have said China’s naval buildup is driven by what it sees as threats to its security from other countries in the region, including Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines, with overlapping claims to islands in the East and South China Seas.

Beijing is seeking a fully operational blue-water navy by 2050.

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