The Chinese and Israeli defence ministries have held initial discussions over the possible resumption of defence sales to Beijing.

Adelegation headed by Israeli defence ministry director general Amos Yaron visited the Chinese capital on 18-19 March to discuss China's future procurement plans, including its likely acquisition of unmanned air vehicles and electronic warfare equipment.

Defence procurement ties between the countries were disrupted after Israel cancelled a deal to equip the Chinese air force with Ilyushin Il-76s equipped with Israel Aircraft Industries' Phalcon airborne early-warning radar system. The sale was abandoned following opposition from the USA, forcing Israel to make a $300 million compensation payment to Beijing.

Although China has agreed to discuss future purchases in principle, it has indicated that it will demand state guarantees from Israel to support any future deals.

Source: Flight International