Thursday, June 18, 2009

Venezuela may buy more Chinese military equipment

Good news on Chinese military exports, Venezuela can provide much oil to fuel China's economy.

Venezuela to get Chinese military planes in 2010

Venezuela may add Chinese-made fighter jets to a wish list of planes it plans to buy from China as it strengthens trade ties with its Asian ally, officials from both countries said Thursday.

The K-8 flight training and light attack aircraft are due for delivery in January 2010, Chinese aerotechnology official Yang Yng told Venezuela's state-run Bolivarian News Agency. He didn't confirm how many planes Venezuela was buying or how much it would pay for them, but Venezuelan Army Gen. Jesus Gonzalez in September said his country would purchase at least two dozen of the aircraft, with options for more.

China will provide logistical support for the planes for three years and Chinese technicians will service the planes for as long as they're in use, Yang said.

Venezuela may also buy advanced trainer aircraft such as the Chinese-made L-15, said Luis Reyes Reyes, an aide to President Hugo Chavez.

Chavez's government has in recent years fed fears in Washington of a military buildup, signing contracts with Russia to purchase more than US$4.4 billion worth of arms since 2005 _ including 24 Russian Sukhoi fighter jets and 53 attack helicopters. Venezuela also plans to install a radar system with China's help.

A 2007 report by the U.S. Congressional Research Service warned of a potential Latin American arms race, citing "concern" that Venezuelan purchases "could stimulate other states in the region to seek comparable weapons systems as a counterweight to Chavez's military buildup."

Trade with China reached more than $10 billion in 2008, up 13 times from $742 million in 2003, Venezuelan Trade Minister Eduardo Saman said. Much of the trade flows are made up of Venezuelan oil exports.

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