China‘s new president Xi Jinping was in Russia this week to meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Both sides agreed to two arms-sale contracts in which China will buy Russian Sukhoi made fighter jets, Xinhua and Agence France Press reported on Monday.
China has been itching to buy the planes since the 1990s and has been in hot pursuit since last March.
Russia’s Interfax confirmed the existence and date of that agreement back in February, but didn’t speculate on sales numbers. This month, official talks trimmed the order down to 24 planes from an initial discussion of 48 Sukhoi Super Flankers. The Russians are said to have more confidence that China can’t copy their engines, and are also said to need the SU-35 orders because Russia’s Defense Department is ordering follow-on buys of new upgraded Sukhoi SU-35s instead.
The deals raised concern among some regional defense players — namely India. China Central Television reported on Sunday that the purchase deals were signed before President Xi Jinping’s ever stepped foot into Russia. The military deal marks the first time in a decade that China had bought large military technological equipment from Russia, according to official television.
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