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New China defense paper heightens threat vs. Taiwan; Russia, Israel are China's top arms suppliers
China Reform Monitor

December 21:

Israel's persistent clandestine military dealings with China have created waves with the U.S., reports International News Services. Israel has reportedly concealed from Washington an upgrade of a major weapons system it sold to China more than a decade ago. By assisting in upgrading China's weapons system, Israel violated its commitment not to transfer U.S. technology to China without Washington's permission.

Israel is China's second-largest arms supplier, after Russia. Although diplomatic relations between Israel and China were established only in 1992, military ties go back to the early 1980s. Until formal diplomatic ties were established in the early 1990s, the nation's military relationship was covert. Israel sold approximately US$4 billion worth of arms to China during the covert relationship. During the 1990s, while much of the West penalized Beijing following the Tiananmen Square Massacre, the Sino-Israel military relationship grew rapidly.

After Israel was pressured by the U.S. to scrap a $250 million deal to sell China the Phalcon, an airborne radar system, the military relationship soured. Washington claimed that providing Beijing access to the technology would upset the military balance between China and Taiwan and threaten U.S. interests in the region. When the U.S. Congress threatened to cut the $2.8 billion it gives Israel annually if the deal went ahead, Israel buckled and scrapped it.

For years, the U.S. government has expressed concerns over Israel illegally transferring technology to China. During the Gulf War, the U.S. gave Israel Patriot Missiles as protection against Iraqi Scud missiles. In 1992, a U.S. intelligence report revealed that soon after the end of the Gulf War, Israel had sold Patriot anti-missile data to China. Washington has also alleged on several occasions that Israel violated agreements by exporting to China restricted U.S. technology it buys with yearly U.S. subsidies. This was the case with the largely U.S.-funded Lavi fighter-plane program, the technology of which Israel passed to Beijing. China's F-10 fighter jet is believed to be almost identical to the Lavi.

In 2002, a deal for Israeli communication satellites was signed with the United States. Early this year, an Israeli delegation went to China for talks on rebuilding military ties. Beijing's relationship with Israel has enabled it to acquire "dual-use technology" that the U.S and Europe have been reluctant to provide.

December 26:

Crushing Taiwan independence was put firmly at the core of a new national defense policy, the first prepared by President Hu Jintao since he became head of China's military, reports Agence France-Presse. The 85-page white paper titled, "China's National Defense in 2004" was released last Monday by the Information Office of the State Council, China's cabinet. The report outlined a list of security threats, but its main thrust was focused on Taiwan. "Should the Taiwan authorities go so far as to make a reckless attempt that constitutes a major incident of Taiwan independence the Chinese people and armed forces will resolutely and thoroughly crush it at any cost," the report concluded.

Copyright (c) 2004, American Foreign Policy Council

China Reform Monitor No. 573, January 12, 2005
American Foreign Policy Council, Washington, DC

Editor: Al Santoli
Associate Editors: Miki Scheidel, Lisa-Marie Shanks

© Copyright 2002-2007 AFAR