Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Chinese Leader's Visit to Russia Will Boost Military, Economic Ties

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Chinese Leader's Visit to Russia Will Boost Military, Economic Ties

Article excerpt

CHINA and Russia will likely move to boost military ties further during the visit to Moscow of President Jiang Zemin starting today, Chinese and Western analysts say.

Mr. Jiang's trip, the first Russian visit by a Chinese president since Mao Zedong's visit 37 years ago, is part of a cautious effort by the two to improve ties and is the latest in a series of official exchanges to promote detente.

Chinese analysts predict Jiang and Russian officials will sign an arms pledge not to aim ballistic missiles at each other and also settle a continuing dispute over the western boundary of their more than 2,400-mile border.

"China and Russia want to resolve the longstanding border dispute so they can concentrate on expanding their economic relations," says a Chinese economist who closely follows ties with Russia. "The main priority is economics, although there are also opportunities for military cooperation."

Jiang, who also serves as Communist Party chief and head of the Central Military Commission and is the heir apparent to paramount leader Deng Xiaoping, could go shopping for new Russian weaponry as part of his efforts to bolster his status with the Chinese military, Western analysts say. Military technology sales are also expected to come up during Jiang's stops in Ukraine Sept. 6-8 and in France Sept. 9-12.

In a sign of growing Chinese-Russian military rapport that has alarmed the United States, diplomats here say China reportedly wants to spend $5 billion to buy Russian technology for jet fighters and a jet-maintenance center, mid-air refueling aircraft, air freighters, tank technology and production, and air-defense missile systems. Russia would also provide assistance in training Chinese military specialists in fighter aircraft and missile-system technology.

In July, Gen. Chi Haotian, China's defense minister, met his Russian counterpart and signed a collective-security agreement aimed at preventing unintentional border crossings, accidental launching of missiles, and interfering with border-control systems. …

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