EAST-WEST tensions are set to tighten amid reports China is considering purchasing advanced Russian fighter jets, once again ignoring US sanctions.
Date: Jul 2, 2019
By: Brian McGleenon
President Xi of China is considering purchasing advanced Russian fighters (Image: GETTY)
China is demonstrating its closer ties to Russia at a time when its relationship with the US is deteriorating by purchasing ”modern weapons and military equipment manufactured in Russia, including additional batches of Su-35 fighter jets". In September, the US State Department announced it would be sanctioning the Equipment Development Department of China's Central Military Commission over its acquisition of Russia's "Su-35 combat aircraft and S-400 surface-to-air missile system-related equipment". The Diplomat's senior editor Franz-Stefan Gady also commented on the potential purchase, explaining on Thursday that the Chinese Su-35 "can reportedly be with air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, unguided rockets, guided bomb units, unguided bombs and anti-ship missiles."
The aircraft is an upgraded version of the Sukhoi Su-27 and Beijing already bought two dozen for some $2.5billion (£1.9billion).
Official China Central Television column Weihutang issued a report of its own Saturday suggesting that a second batch could help to further modernise the Chinese air force's ageing fleet.
On Sunday, however, Chinese air defence expert Fu Qianshao told Chinese Communist Party tabloid The Global Times that there would likely be another reason for the purchase.
Fu argued that, rather than simply bringing China's aerial capabilities up to date, such an acquisition would secure more spare parts and dedicated personnel involved in the Su-35 program.