China to buy Russian fighters, subs: state media

Chinese military troops stand at attention at the Bayi Building in Beijing on September 18, 2012. AFP PHOTO / POOL / Larry Downing

Chinese military troops stand at attention at the Bayi Building in Beijing on September 18, 2012.

AFP PHOTO / POOL / Larry Downing

BEIJING, China - China has agreed to buy two dozen fighter jets and four submarines from Russia, state media reported Monday, March 25, the country's first large-scale weapons technology purchases from Moscow in a decade.

The agreement to buy the 24 Su-35 fighters and four Lada-class submarines was signed just before President Xi Jinping's weekend visit to Russia, said the People's Daily, the Communist Party organ, citing state television.

The report, which did not give a value for the purchases, said it was the first time in 10 years China had bought "large military technological equipment" from Russia.

The deal comes as Beijing expands its military reach -- it commissioned its first aircraft carrier last year -- and is embroiled in a bitter territorial row with Japan over disputed islands in the East China Sea.

Two of the submarines will be built in Russia, with the other two to be built in China.

"The Su-35 fighters can effectively reduce pressure on China's air defense before Chinese-made stealth fighters come online," the report said.

China and Russia are expected to co-operate further in developing military technology, the report said, including that for S-400 long-range anti-aircraft missiles, 117S large thrust engines, IL-476 large transport aircraft and IL-78 aerial tankers.

China's defense ministry had no immediate comment on the report.

Xi visited Moscow from Friday to Sunday for talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, his first trip abroad since becoming head of state earlier this month.

The countries signed around 30 energy and other agreements during the visit.

Xi also met Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and became the first foreign leader to visit the Russian armed forces' control centre.

Moscow and Beijing, which were once bitter foes during the Cold War, have strengthened cooperation in recent years to counterbalance what they see as US global dominance.

Earlier this month China announced a further double-digit rise in its defense budget, raising it by 10.7 percent to 720.2 billion yuan ($116.3 billion) in 2013. - Rappler.com