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Israel Negotiates Compensation For Failed Radar Plane Sale - 2002-01-10


Israeli military officials are in Beijing negotiating compensation for a failed deal to sell a high-technology radar plane to China. The deal collapsed more than a year ago when Washington put intense pressure on Israel to cancel the order.

An Israeli embassy spokesman says this is one in a series of negotiations over several months with China regarding compensation for the broken arms agreement. The spokesman would not comment on Israeli media reports that Israel might offer hundreds of millions of dollars to China. He says Israeli defense officials are expected to be in China "for a few days."

Chinese officials also had little to say. At the regular Thursday briefing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi said he had no details about the talks.

Had the sale gone through, the $250 million Phalcon airborne radar system would have been mounted in a Russian-built transport plane.

The Phalcon's radar, computer, and communications systems would make the Chinese air force more effective by accurately locating the enemy and directing planes where they would have the most impact.

That idea deeply worried Washington, which has pledged to help defend Taiwan if China takes military action against the nearby island.

The U.S. Congress threatened to cut the $2.8 billion in aid it gives Israel each year if the Phalcon deal went ahead.

China regards Taiwan as a rebellious province that should be returned to Beijing's control, and has threatened military action if the democratic island ever formally declares independence. Taiwan split politically from the Chinese mainland after civil war in 1949, and has been ruled separately ever since.

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