Sunday, September 21, 2008

Venezuela to buy 24 K-8 Trainer plane from China

K-8 trainer plane is making the news again.

Venezuela to buy Chinese combat planes: Chavez

http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5gTqVTXDIFh8pewc_Fp2AJiF8fTbA

CARACAS (AFP) — Venezuela will buy combat and training aircraft from China this week, leftist Venezuela President Hugo Chavez confirmed in a television broadcast Sunday.

The purchases will be made as part of a six-country tour, Chavez said in his broadcast of the "Alo President" television program from the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, hours before leaving on a "strategic interest" trip to Cuba, China, Russia, Belarus, France and Portugal.

Chavez, a staunch foe of the US government, confirmed that during his stay in Beijing he will purchase 24 K-8 aircraft "to train fighter pilots." The planes could be part of Venezuela's air force by next year.

The president also confirmed that while in Beijing he will arrange the construction of tanker vessels in Chinese shipyards, with the aim of installing a shipyard in Venezuela in the near future.

These plans come in addition to the construction of a refinery in China to process oil from Venezuela, and plans to create a bi-national company to install a refinery in the remote oil-rich Orinoco region in eastern Venezuela.

Caracas provides 500,000 barrels of oil per day to Beijing, a trade which is expected to increase to one million barrels a day by 2012.

Chavez, who describes China as a strategic ally, will move forward with a six billion dollar bilateral investment fund. China will contribute four billion dollars to the fund, and Venezuela two billion dollars.

Caracas will use the fund for "socialist productive projects."

"Before we had to go to Washington to beg for money. Not now. Now we negotiate with the Chinese," said Chavez.

Chavez announced that during his visit to Beijing the investment fund will benefit from an additional four billion dollars for further "development" in Venezuela.

After China, Chavez will head to Moscow.

Venezuela in recent years has been broadening its military ties to Moscow, and Chavez backed Russia in the recent Georgian conflict.

Last week, Russian supersonic Tu-160 bombers for the first time flew training runs with Venezuela in an area of the Caribbean traditionally considered the US military's sphere of influence.

Chavez's trip is expected to last until September 27.

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