Following a meeting between Liu Huaqing, Vice Chairman of the Chinese Central Military Commission, and Russian first deputy prime minister Oleg Soskovets (who oversees Russia’s defense industrial complex), the two sides announced that they would increase exchanges between their armed forces as well as cooperation in the military-technical sector. They emphasized that this increased cooperation was not directed against any third nation or group of nations. (Xinhua, April 25) According to Boris Kuzyk, a presidential aide on military-technical issues, long-term cooperation between the two countries will develop along three lines: in the development of Chinese manufacturing capabilities; in the modernization of weaponry sold earlier to China; and in the sale of new weapons. Russian experts suggested that, at a relatively low cost, China could thus significantly raise the effectiveness of its military technology. (Interfax, April 25)
Not coincidentally, China took delivery yesterday on the first 11 Su-27 fighter jets purchased from Russia in a deal finalized late last year. (See Monitor, February 5 & 8) According to Russia’s defense minister, another 11 aircraft, together with air defense systems, are due to arrive in China today. In a related development, a Taiwanese Defense Ministry official yesterday charged that further purchases by Russia of the advanced Su-27 fighters would threaten Taiwanese security. Taiwan will start to take delivery this year on 150 U.S.-made F-16 and 60 French Mirage 2000 fighters in what Taipei says is an effort to counter China’s acquisition of the Su-27’s. (Reuter, April 25)
Statement on the Sino-Russian Border.