法新社╱劉學源 2008-01-29 23:20
Newspaper: Russian Arms Exports To China In Collapse - AFP
MOSCOW (AFP)--Russia's arms industry is suffering a near collapse in exports to China as military top brass agonize over which technology the neighboring state should be allowed, a Russian daily reported Tuesday.
The independent newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta said Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov would visit China to try to resolve problems in this key relationship before President Vladimir Putin's final term ends in May.
From a situation where 40% of Russian earnings from arms exports came from China, "recently exports to China of our military equipment and weapons have dropped almost to zero," the paper said.
One problem is the recent breakdown of a contract to supply transport and refueling aircraft after problems at an Uzbek contractor, the paper said.
But the main issue is indecision over which technology can safely be sold to China, as well as Beijing's desire to receive licenses to do the work itself, the paper said, citing a senior officer overseeing the arms industry, Mikhail Dmitriyev.
Russia's arms export agency declined to comment on the report when contacted by AFP, as did the defense ministry.
The paper said Moscow's willingness to deliver cutting-edge technology to India, another major importer of Russian weapons, had "embittered the Chinese generals," the paper said.
Russia has sought close military ties with China, particularly through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, while the two countries have often aligned their policies as permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.