In response to the growing tension in the Korean peninsula between the US and North Korea, china has begun to boost its Air Force. The China daily reports that Chinese pilots are currently being drilled substantially to enhance their capabilities.

What is the current state of China's Air Force?

The Chinese Air Force is heavily dependent on the Russians and most of its front line jet fighters are comprised of Su-30MKK, Su-30MK2 and Su-27SK/UBK models. These aircraft are all Soviet-era designs, which China incorporated into its arsenal. However, production for a new multipurpose aircraft, the J-10 is underway, slated to replace the other models.

A more modern aircraft, the J-20 is under development and will be produced by 2018, along with more modern aircraft in the queue.

The Chinese fleet has often been deemed inferior to other countries like South Korea and Japan despite its numerical superiority. However, because of the sudden tension between the US and North Korea, Beijing has been forced to upgrade its capabilities by placing pilots in rigorous drills.

Reports coming from China say that commanders and pilots are given realistic and stringent combat scenarios that will force them to do their best. This involves live-fire drills, long-range patrols, and continuous fighter-bomber training using different aircraft units and modern jet fighters.

US reaction to Chinese boost in Air Force capability

Tension is also mounting between the US and China, especially after the arrest of Lt. Edward Lin for sharing confidential information with China. The main contention of China against the US is its support of the independence of Taiwan and its meddling in Chinese interests in the South China sea.

Though at the moment, the US military's gaze is fixed on North Korea, the threat of Chinese aggression is still not dismissed. With the deployment of two aircraft carriers and the planned installation of a missile defense system that will counter THAAD, China will continue to be a force to be reckoned with.

China is slowly increasing its presence in South East Asia, especially with countries like the Philippines pivoting toward its sphere of influence.

China has promised billions of dollars in financial investment to the Philippines, slowly turning it into a major Chinese partner. If the United States fails to check Chinese advances in the area, American influence may vanish and be replaced by China's industrial might.