In a reversal of a decision made earlier this year, Moscow has agreed to sell 24 Sukhoi Su-35BM fighter aircraft to China for an estimated US$1.5 billion, a sale that will further shift the balance of power in the air over the Taiwan Strait.
Russia’s Rosoboronexport and the Chinese Ministry of National Defense are said to have reached a preliminary agreement, with details discussed during a meeting in Beijing on Wednesday between Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoygu and Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤).
Hu was accompanied by General Xu Qiliang (許其亮), who was appointed one of the two vice chairmen of the Central Military Commission during the 17th session of the seventh plenary conference earlier this month.
The 24 aircraft come equipped with the 117S engine designed by Russian firm NPO Saturn, the Russian business daily Vedomosti reported.
The contract is expected to be signed next year or in 2014, with delivery of the jets starting in 2015.
Beijing has yet to confirm the deal.
Russian media reported earlier this year that Moscow had decided against selling China the 48 so-called “fourth-plus-plus generation” Su-35s, valued at more than US$4 billion, after Beijing requested them last year. Analysts concluded at the time that Russia’s principal reason for not selling the advanced multirole aircraft was the risk of Chinese reverse engineering. Beijing had initially only requested four.
Relations were already strained after China canceled an order for 95 Su-27s last year after it launched the production of the J-11, which Russia alleged was a replica of the Su-27.
The spat led to Moscow’s decision not to sell carrier-based Su-33 aircraft to the Chinese navy, which then designed its own version, the J-15, based on a single Su-33 it obtained from Ukraine.
The Russian air force is expected to take delivery of its first Su-35s in 2015.
China’s rapid modernization of its air force also includes the development of two types of fifth-generation “stealth” aircraft, the J-20 and J-31. It occurs at a time when Taiwan’s air force readies to retire its aging F-5 and Mirage-2000 aircraft.
According to a recent report by the US Congressional Research Service, the number of combat aircraft in Taiwan’s air force will drop by 70 percent in 2020 if no new aircraft are acquired, and by 50 percent if Taiwan procures the 66 F-16C/Ds it has unsuccessfully been requesting from the US since 2006.
‘DEMOCRATIC FISH’: Soichiro Hayashi said he wants to return Taiwan’s kindness after it helped with relief efforts after the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami Japanese fish farmers are ready to help Taiwan after China banned Taiwanese grouper imports, the Sankei Shimbun reported yesterday. The Chinese General Administration of Customs suspended imports of the fish on Monday last week, citing prohibited chemicals and excessive levels of oxytetracycline allegedly found in grouper imports since December last year. Soichiro Hayashi, president of the Hayashi Trout Farm in Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture, is leading the push for Taiwanese grouper imports, the newspaper said. His call has caught the attention of several large sushi chains, the report said. Hayashi, who is the Fukushima branch head of the Friends of Lee Teng-hui Association in Japan,
‘TROJAN HORSE’ SCHEME: The comment that a bridge would allow China’s PLA to easily launch an attack shows ‘a lack of backbone,’ Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je said Critics accused Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) of being oblivious to national security concerns after he proposed constructing a bridge to link Kinmen and China’s Xiamen (廈門). Ko, who is also the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) chairman, made the proposal when presiding over the opening ceremony of the party’s office in Kinmen on Saturday. He said the bridge could solve Kinmen’s population, electricity and garbage problems, as well as serve as a shortcut for leaving or entering Taiwan without traveling via Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport). He also proposed building a hospital in Kinmen to attract people who are seeking medical treatment in
OVER THE HUMP: In a seven-day period ending on Wednesday, the nation reported 366,628 new cases, down 19 percent from the 451,358 reported in the previous week The nation might further open up to more arrivals in the next two months, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported 48,283 new local COVID-19 cases, down from more than 50,000 in the previous few days. Taiwan on Wednesday last week introduced a plan to allow up to 25,000 arrivals per week as part of efforts to gradually reopen borders, which includes reducing mandatory quarantines for inbound travelers from seven to three days, followed by four days in “self-initiated epidemic prevention.” The quota covers inbound Taiwanese arrivals, businesspeople and migrant workers. Former vice president Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) yesterday said
The Ministry of National Defense yesterday said it is monitoring Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy ship movements near Taiwan, after the Japanese Ministry of Defense disclosed that Chinese vessels made a rare voyage between Yilan County and Japan’s Yonaguni. The Japanese ministry on Wednesday said that two Chinese navy ships on Tuesday diverted from their usual route of entering the Pacific Ocean via the Miyako Strait and for the first time traveled there between Yilan and Yonaguni. The Japan Self-Defense Forces said that it picked up the presence of China’s Type-056A Jiangdao-class corvette 220km north of Yonaguni at 9am on Tuesday. The