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Moscow to sell more arms to Beijing

By Vladimir Radyuhin

MOSCOW AUG. 22. Russia is mooting the sale of more anti-aircraft missiles and other weapons to China, a Russian news agency report said.

The Interfax news agency quoted a source in a Russian government delegation currently visiting China as saying that the two countries are discussing a "a number'' of new defence deals, including supplies of anti-aircraft systems.

The Russian delegation, led by the Prime Minister, Mikhail Kasyanov, is focussing on economic cooperation with China in the civilian sector, but defence tie-ups are also on the agenda on its August 21-24 visit. Mr. Alexei Volin, the deputy chief of Mr. Kasyanov's staff, said the sides, among other projects, were discussing the assembly of Russian multi-purpose helicopters in China.

China is reported to have already ordered from Russia this year two Project 956EM Sovremenny destroyers for $1.4 billions, eight Kilo submarines for $1.5 billions and S-300F naval air defence systems for $200 millions. The two sides are also said to be close to striking a deal for the delivery of about 30 Su-30MK2 fighters equipped with X-31A anti-ship missiles.

Earlier this week, Russia delivered the first 10 of 40 Sukhoi Su-30MKK fighters that China bought last year.

The Russian delegation source told Interfax that Russia sells China weapons worth between $2 to $2.5 billions a year.

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