China to buy 2 dozen jets, 4 submarines from Russia

China to buy 2 dozen jets, 4 submarines from Russia

BEIJING - Agence France-Presse
China to buy 2 dozen jets, 4 submarines from Russia

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (R) and Chinese President Xi Jinping toast during their meeting in the Gorki residence outside Moscow. AP photo

China has agreed to buy two dozen fighter jets and four submarines from Russia, state media reported yesterday, the country’s first large-scale weapons technology purchases from Moscow in a decade.

The agreement to buy the 24 Su-35 fighters and four Lada-class submarines was signed just before President Xi Jinping’s weekend visit to Russia, said the People’s Daily, the Communist Party organ, citing state television.

The report, which did not give a value for the purchases, said it was the first time in 10 years China had bought “large military technological equipment” from Russia.

The deal comes as Beijing expands its military reach, commissioning its first aircraft carrier last year and currently embroiled in a bitter territorial row with Japan over disputed islands in the East China Sea.
Two of the submarines will be built in Russia and the other two are to be built in China. “The Su-35 fighters can effectively reduce pressure on China’s air defense before Chinese-made stealth fighters come online,” the report said.

Xi’s Africa tour begins

China and Russia are expected to co-operate further in developing military technology, the report said, including that for S-400 long-range anti-aircraft missiles, 117S large thrust engines, IL-476 large transport aircraft and IL-78 aerial tankers. After completing his visit to Russia, Xi arrived in Tanzania on March 24 for the first stop of his three-nation Africa tour that underscores Beijing’s growing presence in the resource-rich continent.

The Chinese president and his Tanzanian counterpart Jakaya Kikwete signed 16 different trade, cultural and development accords that included improvements to Tanzania’s hospitals and ports and the building of a Chinese cultural center in Tanzania.

“Africa belongs to the African people,” Xi said yesterday, speaking in a new conference hall built by China. “In developing relations with Africa, all countries should respect Africa’s dignity and independence,” he added.

 Trade between China and Africa topped more than $200 billion last year, he added. Xi will head to Durban in South Africa to join an emerging economies summit. He wraps up the African tour with a visit to the Congo.

China, which has risen to become the world’s second-largest economy, sources many of its raw materials from Africa. A new Chinese diaspora has seen huge numbers of traders and small business operators establish themselves across the continent, which has higher growth rates than Europe or the United States.

Chinese imports from Africa soared 20-fold in a decade to reach $113 billion last year, according to Chinese government statistics, and China became the continent’s largest trading partner in 2009.