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China F-35 secrets stolen from the US: Could this spell war with China?

China F-35 secrets that were stolen from the U.S. fifth generation fighter Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II are now showing up in China's new J-20 stealth fighter jet. The Washington Free Beacon reported on March 13 that the China F-35 secrets were obtained via a Chinese cyber espionage operation seven years ago.

Lockheed Martin was the main victim of the Chinese cyber espionage and the Department of Defense believes that Chinese hackers appropriated design details of over a dozen sophisticated weapons.

Among the data compromised by the Chinese cyber intrusion was sensitive information regarding the complex defense system, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, considered the most expensive system ever built. Other design secrets that were stolen also include data from the F/A-18 fighter, the V-22 Osprey, the Black Hawk helicopter and a new combat ship designed especially for operations in littoral. Also, details to improve air defense systems, such as Patriot missiles and anti-ballistic missile, Aegis, have gone into the hands of Chinese hackers.

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In one generation, China has gone from a largely agrarian country into a manufacturing and global commerce power. China's economy is 20 times larger than it was two decades ago and is on track to overtake the U.S. to become the world's largest. But perhaps most surprising was the ambitious military buildup that has made China much more powerful.

The Chinese government is rapidly building a bigger and more sophisticated military arsenal. In some cases, the growing presence of China could lead to greater cooperation with the U.S., as it did in 2008, when China took part in anti-piracy patrols off Somalia. But if U.S. and Chinese forces end up in the same place, with different objectives, the result could be a showdown between two of the best-equipped military powers in the world.

What's your view on the stolen China F-35 secrets? Do you think a serious US/China conflict is in the near future? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.