Ban on China arms sales in place despite Barak visit

Defense minister stresses importance of stopping Iran, counter-terrorism cooperation in meeting with Chinese officials in Beijing.

By
June 12, 2011 22:21
1 minute read.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak

Barak stink-eye 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s visit to China does not signify a change in the policy not to sell weapons and military platforms to the People’s Liberation Army, Israeli defense officials said on Sunday.

Barak arrived in Beijing on Sunday and held meetings with senior military officers including Chief of General Staff Gen. Chen Bingde. It is the first visit of an Israeli defense minister to China in a decade.

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Barak provided Bingde with an overview of Israel’s current strategic standing in the Middle East with an emphasis on the Iranian nuclear threat as well as the challenges Israel faces amid the ongoing upheaval in the region.

Barak stressed the importance of stopping Iran, which if allowed to go nuclear, would present a severe threat to the world and not just Israel.

China is a key member of the UN Security Council and has in the past blocked resolutions aimed at imposing tougher sanctions on Iran.

The two men also discussed cooperation in the field of counterterrorism. On Monday, Barak will meet National Defense Minister Liang Guanglie.



Officials said that all of Israel’s ties with China were under careful US scrutiny and in most cases things were approved ahead of time by the Pentagon. In 2000 Barak – then prime minister – gave in to United States pressure and suspended the sale of four $250 million Phalcon advanced early-warning aircraft to China due to concerns that they had American technology installed in them.

In 2005, Israel agreed to upgrade Israel Aerospace Industries drones that were sold to Beijing in the 1990s.

As a result, the US downgraded Israel’s participation in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.


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