PRESSURE FROM CHINA has led to Israel freezing talks about the establishment of a joint maintenance centre with Taiwanese industrial interests.

The talks, which started in 1993, had advanced to the point where Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) had signed a memorandum of understanding with a group of Taiwanese companies, headed by the Kwang Hwa holding company.

Under the plan, IAI was to supply know-how for a $160 million centre about to be built to maintain civil aircraft and various military aircraft operated by the Taiwanese air force.

The Chinese Government, which opposes any type of military assistance to Taiwan, reacted when the talks reached an advanced stage in late 1994 and asked the Israeli Government to instruct IAI to freeze further negotiations.

Israel, which has been heavily involved in the supply of military equipment to China, opted against harming its relations with Beijing and has instructed IAI not to conclude the deal.

IAI says that the talks have not resulted so far in a contract and that "negotiations continue".

Source: Flight International