China’s Army Chief To Visit Israel

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JERUSALEM, Aug. 8 (UPI) — The chief of the general staff of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army will visit Israel for the first time next week, Israeli defense officials said.

Gen. Chen Bingde’s visit does not signify a change in Israeli policy concerning defense relations and exports to China, officials said.

The Chinese military leader will also stop in Russia and Ukraine.

While in Israel, Bingde will meet with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who visited China in June, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, the chief of staff, and other senior officers, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Israeli companies are forbidden to sell weaponry to the Chinese military and Israel downgraded its defense ties with China due to American pressure, unnamed officials told the newspaper.

All of Israel’s ties with China are scrutinized closely by the United States, the Post said.

In 2000, when Barak was prime minister, he halted the sale of four $250 million, advanced early-warning Phalcon aircraft to China. The planes featured American technology, the report said.

In 2005, the United States downgraded Israeli participation in the F-35 Joint Striker program in response to Israel’s plans to upgrade Israel Aerospace Industries drones that were sold to China in the 1990s, the newspaper said.

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