WASHINGTON (CNN) - CNN has obtained detailed photographs of a new stealth fighter being tested in China.
It is the second such stealth fighter China has tested in as many years and appears destined to become the communist nation's future aircraft carrier-based fighter jet, according to weapons analysts.
The plane, dubbed by outsiders as the J-31, was test flown Tuesday in Shenyang. According to the analysts, the two photographs obtained by CNN appear to have been leaked by officials in China.
"It has to be an official photographer because nobody else can get that close to the airplane," said John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org. "These are all publicity photos from the factory, and I could not imagine that the factory would publicize these things without somebody higher up in the food chain authorizing it."
Richard Fisher, a senior fellow in Asian military affairs at the International Assessment and Strategy Center (IASC), agrees these are not pictures sent out surreptitiously by some Chinese aviation aficionado. "The Internet censors are controlling this process, have no doubt that."
But Fisher said the reason for the release may not be as threatening as some might imagine.
"It's being done in a way to help promote pro-military nationalism in China. There's just a huge, large audience in China for this kind of information. It's kind of like NASCAR."
By Jill Dougherty
For the past decade, international election observers have traveled to the United States to witness how Americans conduct their presidential election.
They are back again this year but officials in the battleground state of Iowa and in Texas have warned that the observers could face criminal charges if they try to show up at polling stations on Tuesday.
Observers, however, told CNN it's a tempest in a teapot - they're not going to break the law.
"They won't be attempting to go to a polling station and have access where the state laws or the local laws prohibit it. They won't even try," said R. Spencer Oliver, Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.