One Small Step:

Pacific Air Forces boss Gen. Paul Hester said in a teleconference this week that his recent end-of-July trip to China included a visit to a relatively new Peoples Liberation Army Air Force base that flies advanced Su-27 fighters. Hester said he had specifically requested to visit an operational base after Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was recently taken to an Su-27 base—it was not an operational one. Hester said that he had requested the chance to fly China’s brand new indigenous J-10 fighter, but that request, not surprisingly, was turned down. However, the visit shows that mil-to-mil relations between the US and China are “absolutely” making progress, said Hester, adding that the Chinese kept to the itinerary they had promised before the trip. Hester’s visit to China included a visit with the PLAAF commander and deputy commander. The PACAF commander also visited with fighter crews and maintainers, but noted that he still came away from the trip with a poor understanding of what the Chinese “vision” is for their military.